A couple of weeks ago, Bob looked out and saw something on the neighbor's driveway. He went over to investigate and it turned out to be a huge snapping turtle. The turtle had crawled up from the pond behind their house, come around their house and was headed down the driveway. Snapping turtles are primative, mean and dangerous. They can bite through a thumb joint. When they draw their heads back part way in their shells the way this one has, it's easy to misjudge how long their necks are. And they strike fast, like snakes. So Bob did what anyone would do. He ran and got his camera.
He stayed well away while he took these pictures. And then the turtle, evidently fed up, turned and headed back to the pond. We were looking at the pictures last night and Bob noticed something just under the shell at the shoulders. "Parasites," Bob said. "I didn't notice those before."
"No wonder it's cranky," I said.
After a moment he identified the cluster of little translucent-looking stuff as leeches.
At least leeches don't hurt.
When I was a kid people said weird things about snapping turtles. The only way to kill them is to chop of their head, and If they bite you they won't let go even after you chop off their heads. And the strangest, when you chop off a snapping turtle's head, it's heart continues to beat and it won't actually die until after sundown.
I'm glad Bob didn't chop off this one's head. I'm even more glad he didn't get near enough to get bit.