September 28, 2010
What’s green, brown, quick moving, and highly endangered? The illusive Invisible Turtle. These contrary and complex creatures are known to inhabit all sorts of public areas, including supermarkets, Targets, Walmarts… and, you guessed it – libraries. Although, I cannot verify colonies living in all the branches of Mid-Continent, there is a group of at least twenty believed to be lurking here at Red Bridge. Rumors abound of swarms of the reptiles residing in Amazon.com Warehouses and various book stores, but this cannot be confirmed, due to the inconsistency of sightings at these locations. However, they do reside as far north as the upper reaches of Ontario, Canada, and as far south as Montevideo, Uruguay. They are, most of the time, perfectly harmless, choosing to snooze and stay out of the way, slumbering on a vacant shelf under the computer tables. And from time to time, they choose to take a nap under the circulation desk.
That’s the other thing about invisible turtles – they love to sleep – and sleep is one of the things they do almost constantly. At least, during the day – the turtles are wholly nocturnal. Due to their short stature, they can slip through the library undetected at night. This is when they perform another one of their puzzling habits – taking items off of the shelves, and hiding them elsewhere in the library. Research has not uncovered why this is so, and my calls to anthropologists have been completely ignored. Funny… even Bigfoot and Bat Boy can make the National Enquirer… their lack of press coverage could be behind the turtle’s habit of snatching books, DVDs, CDs, and audiobooks.
Invisible turtles are much quicker than your average garden variety turtle, capable of reaching speeds just over fifteen miles an hour. (Very impressive, considering normal turtles go only three to four miles per hour.) This speed has helped them escape book carts, wheelchairs (both manual and battery operated ones), vacuum cleaners, and the occasional service dog. Their diet consists largely of small ground insects (they prefer spiders over anything else) and dust bunnies.
Yet, why are these rather benign creatures endangered? They get tripped over. In the process of moving from one shadowy location to another (usually from table to table), a fast moving human can fall over the creature injuring themselves and this reptile. Three out of every seven human/turtle collisions results in serious injury to the turtle – they hobble away to hide under another shadowy location, and stay there until they are well enough to move – or until the vacuum cleaner finds them. The injury may or may not prevent them from running away.
How can this tragedy be prevented? Very simple: do not run in the library. Normally, a simple foot nudge caused by walking will make the turtle move – not to mention it’s much easier to escape from something going three miles an hour as opposed to one going fifteen. Also – an additional warning in regards to the turtles: they have been known to crawl into backpacks, messenger bags, computer bags, and book bags left lying haphazardly on the floor. Invisible Turtles living in a family home or apartment can prove to be highly troublesome. Deprived of their normal mischief making of hiding books and other items, they will resort to eating the last cookie, drinking the last soda, and any other sweets left in the house. One turtle working alone in a family dwelling can eat through an entire bag of Halloween Candy in under an hour. It is not known if the turtles are capable of transmitting computer viruses. Research on this is pending.
At this time, the library staff here at Red Bridge is working on capturing a glimpse or a shadow to confirm the colony's existence. Stay tuned to this blog for further research and information on this fascinating creature.
Red Bridge Branch