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May 13, 2011

Happy Diamondback Terrapin Day

Hallmark doesn't have a card for the occasion, but that shouldn't stop us from congratulating the state reptile for snagging a shout out today from Top Terrapin Martin O'Malley.

OK, it might have been better if the Gov had chosen a day other than Friday the 13th for Diamond Terrapin Day, but maybe after the university announced its new basketball coach earlier this week, MOM decided to go with the flow. 

The proclamation doesn't get too specific on what we're supposed to do to celebrate or reflect. I guess if we were at College Park, we'd overturn something and set it on fire. So here, in no particular order are some suggestions:

1) Put on a turtleneck sweater

2) Polish up your car with Turtle Wax

3) Lay on your back and fling your limbs around. You know, turn turtle.

4) Challenge a rabbit to a race

For those of you who want to do something more meaningful, you can:

1) Save a turtle trying to cross a road by lifting it to its destination.

2) Visit the Terrapin Institute Research Station Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and learn more about the critters.

3) If you're a waterfront homeowner who sets crab pots out, be sure to install a Turtle Excluder Device. It not only helps save turtles from drowning, it is required by state law. Read the regulation and then buy or make the TEDs for each pot. Here are some simple instructions.

Diamondback Terrapin Day may just come once a year, but we can make it a year-long event. Don't just Fear the Turtle, give it a little love. 

2002 Baltimore Sun photo

Posted by Candus Thomson at 12:42 PM | | Comments (1)


Read my book, JEMMA'S GOT THE TRAVEL BUG, to your children! It's an action-packed picturebook about the hazards facing the diamondback terrapin in the Chesapeake Bay.

(Written by Susan Glick and illustrated by Kelli Nash.)

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About Candus Thomson
In a world of paper vs. plastic and candy mint vs. breath mint, my early memories involved a debate about the merits of freshwater vs. saltwater.

On the one hand, a great uncle’s fishing cabin on the Susquehanna River beckoned, but so did family gatherings on the Jersey Shore.

The correct answer, thankfully, was, “both.”

As The Sun’s outdoors writer for more than a decade, I’ve fished across Maryland in one day, hiked the width of the state in one hour, camped overnight in the median of I-95 to experience the wildlife between the fast lanes and chased mountain bikers in a 24-hour marathon race.

Those are some of the highlights. I’ve also fallen in a raging Gunpowder River during a trout survey (photo available upon request), had a shark spill its guts on my clothes and been stuck in a sub-freezing Vermont wilderness with men armed with flintlocks and hatchets, shuffling along on ancient wooden snowshoes.

And, in my travels I’ve met lots of you, who share a love of the outdoors and the good times and mishaps that go along with it.

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