From: Jennifer Hanson, thenorthbaybay.ca staff
NORTH BAY — Declared missing last Thursday, a labourer engaged in the construction of the Pinewood Park Casino has been eaten by Blanding’s turtles.
The worker, named Davey Skilpadde, left for the site Thursday morning but did not report back in.
“We got worried when Davey didn’t show up for lunch,” says Dale Kobe, Skilpadde’s manager. “We sent out some people to look for him, but all we found was his truck.”
The North Bay Police began an official search Thursday evening, but Skilpadde was not found until Monday.
“We found Mr. Skilpadde Monday morning about 600 meters into the bush,” says Constable Sara Musker. “I can confirm that he was attacked and consumed by Blanding’s turtles.”
Blanding’s turtles are a medium sized turtle, usually no bigger than a shoebox.
“Alone, they are very timid,” says turtle expert Phil Lagarto. “But in packs, they can become territorial and vicious.”
“They’ve been known to attack foxes, dogs, wild cats, and even the occasional deer. Taking down a full grown man is not out of the question.”
Lagarto says that he’s personally witnessed “up to 60” Blanding’s turtles jump onto, and take down, a 900 pound bull moose.
“One caught it right in the jugular, which was the killing blow. Then, like feisty ill-tempered piranhas, the pack of turtles devoured the animal in under an hour.”
“Justice for Davey”
Davey Skilpadde’s co-workers are shocked.
“Davey was a kind soul,” says friend a co-worker Robert Zelva. “I can’t believe this has happened. I don’t think I’ll ever look at turtles the same way again. I just found out Blanding’s turtles can live for up to 70 or 80 years, so who knows how long they’ve been planning this?”
Skilpadde’s manager Dale Kobe has also been doing some research on the reptiles.
“I’ve seen them at construction sites and never given them much thought,” says Kobe. “I do now. I promise you: I will have justice for Davey. If the Blanding’s turtle wasn’t a ‘threatened’ species before, they certainly are now.”
“People call them ‘smiling turtles.’ Well, now I know what they’re all smiling about, and I don’t find it funny.”
Turtle expert Phil Lagarto says the Blanding’s turtles don’t have anything to fear from people like Kobe.
“Each turtle is an excellent jumper and possess three rows of razor-edged teeth. Some can run up to speeds of 20 km/hr. They are one of nature’s most perfect predators.”
“I would advise Mr. Kobe to stay away from the Pinewood Park site, and to steer clear from any place where Blanding’s turtles might lurk. I think the police were very lucky to have found anything of Mr. Skilpaddle – usually they don’t even leave the bones.”