Interspecies Attractions and My Failure to Read Social Cues

Take me to a cocktail party and I’m hyper alert to social cues. Eyes wandering? I assume you’d rather be talking to someone else. Lack of enthusiastic nodding? Your interest has waned; time to shut-up, Laura. I won’t even go into the looking at my chest, or worse—your focus is slightly off my eyes. Did I grow a zit on my forehead?

Obsess much? Oh yeah!

However, when it comes to the animal kingdom, I forget all that self-consciousness in my desire to connect interspecially. (No, that’s not a spelling error. It’s a made up word.)

Just this week I had two significant reptilian contacts.

Monday evening, my husband reported a turtle crossing the driveway. I grabbed the camera and took off to find an attractive red slider moving at break-neck (turtle) speed. My hands-off policy failed when I saw something attached to her (or his, I really don’t know how to tell with turtles. You know, the shell and all that…) back.

Gently stopping her resulted in her peeing her body weight, which was a pretty significant social cue that my affection for her wasn’t going to be returned. On closer inspection, the “something” turned out to be a leech. With hubby’s “help” (If you consider standing to the side saying “Ewww,” “Maybe you should put salt on it,” and “be sure to wash your hands, honey”), I removed the leech by rubbing it off with a small twig.

Neither the turtle nor the leech was appreciative.

Red Slider Turtle

Not BFF’s. Not even close!

Later that evening, while I was attempting to dig a cattail out of the pond, a frog jumped out and landed in the grass a foot away from me. I should have been content to simply admire him. (Again, I really don’t know how to tell frogs’ gender either, unless they’re actively mating, in which case I assume the one on top is the male.) He made the mistake of making eye contact.

In my defense, there was a slight gloat to his demeanor. “Lucky mah dirty ass is camouflaged. Stupid human eyes can’t peep me up in tha grass!” (Credit: Pond lingo courtesy of I replied—yes out loud, but don’t tell anyone, “I can see you, you know.”

His little froggy smirk continued. “No, you can’t. No, you can’t. I’m just one foot away, and you can’t peep me.” After I gave him the gentlest of touches on his little froggy head, he sprung away.

Pond Frog

Not interested in human contact…

Spurned again.

I’m pretty certain I heard a “biotch!” as he left.

© Laura Hedgecock 2013


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