When it raised its head above the murky waters of her draining pool, Sue Roush said that to her, it looked like Godzilla.
“I had the water halfway down and I saw something swishing around in the water. The water got a little lower and then the thing stuck its head up out of the water. I didn’t know what to think. My first thing was, ‘Oh my God, it’s Godzilla. It was so big,” said Roush, a Rainsboro resident for the last 22 years. “I texted my friend Jill and she said, ‘It can’t be that big.’ I said, ‘I’m telling you…’”
What it turned out to be was a medium-sized snapping turtle that somehow found its way into Roush’s above-ground swimming pool.
Roush said the pool had been closed for two years with no cover on it, but that she decided to open it this year and started draining the pool on June 7. After seeing the turtle she said she didn’t know what to do, but was concerned because she was afraid the turtle would tear the pool’s liner with its claws. So she texted her friend, Jill Newkirk, who Roush said lives on a large property and had dealt the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife in the past.
Newkirk contacted local wildlife officer Jim Carnes, and he showed up at Roush’s house the same day.
As Carnes was surveying the situation, Roush said he noticed a live trap in an outbuilding. He suggested dropping the live trap into the pool, then lowering the water enough so that the turtle could sun itself while sitting atop the trap.
When Carnes returned the next day, sure enough, there the turtle was, sunning itself on top of the trap. Carnes removed it without any damage to the pool liner and took it to a new home in Rocky Fork Creek.
Carnes said the reason he went to rescue the turtle is because that due to the commercialization of turtle meet, there is now a turtle hunting season that runs from July 1 to Dec. 31. A turtle has to be 11 inches long — across the length of its shell — or longer to be taken. Carnes said a turtle 11 inches long would be 14 to 18 years old.
“When you see a really large snapping turtle, it’s been alive for a long, long time,” Carnes said.
Roush said she has no idea how the turtle got in the pool, or how it had been surviving. She said there is a deck leading up to the pool, but the turtle would have had to climb three steps on one side of the pool or four steps on the side to gain access to the water.
“It looked like he was thoroughly enjoying the pool,” she said.
The only way he could have elevated himself out of the water, Roush said, was to grab onto the pool’s ladder. She surmised that it had likely been surviving on tadpoles and algae.
She said she was thankful for Carnes because a new liner would have cost her $400.
“He came right out. I was so impressed with him, and when he got that thing out of there that turtle was not happy,” Roush said. “With all that’s going on, I just thought it would be good to say something nice about law enforcement.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.