Animal Alert: Brake for Turtles, Give Gators a Break, and BBQ Glaze a Pig


This editorial appeared last week. While I don’t want to share my spot on the sandbar with a gator, they deserve to live their lives. You’ve probably noticed Mr. Mike and I are animal lovers. Six cats scrounge their food from us. We have birdfeeders, including a hummingbird feeder. It’s interesting to watch their social interactions while we sip a beer on the deck. We’re on the lookout for turtles on the road whenver we’re out, two wheels or four. This is the time of year they’re “trying to get to each other”, as a biker friend of mine once explained. He mounted a cardboard turtle transport box on his Triumph motorcycle. We’re not that elaborate. We just flip the flashers, pull over to the shoulder, scoop the turtle from the road and place him/her on the side of the road they pointed towards. They’re usually laying on the road with just their heads sticking out, a prime target for the cell phone talking driver in his monster manly truck going 70mph. One time Mr. Mike watched in horror as one of these huge pickups ran over a turtle, squashing it, before he could rescue it. Most of the turtles are box turtles, though we have encountered river cooters, map turtles, and yes, a snapping turtle. We didn’t pick him up, just “guided” him across the road with a stick, which he viciously bit if it got too close. But the most surprising discovery occurred last week when I had parked the car and was getting ready to climb the stairs to our house.


A gopher tortoise! Their numbers are decreasing due to loss of habitat. They live in tunnels, sometimes over 40 feet long. Now I understood the purpose of that mysterious hole under the trees in our front yard. Note the large forelegs.




Scrounge Cat #4 had to check it out. Turtles move slow, so there’s plenty of time to cook and observe. Try this BBQ Glazed Pork while watchin’ the wild things.

BBQ Glazed Pork
2 Tbsp ketchup
2 Tbsp soy sauce (low sodium if you got it)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1/5 tsp chili powder
Flake salt & pepper
1 lb pork tenderloin, loin roast, or boneless chops (I used chops cuz that’s all I had)
1 Tbsp oil

Season meat with salt and pepper. Heat skillet to med-high and add oil. Brown meat on all sides and then place in a slow cooker. Mix ketchup and next 3 ingredients in a small bowl and then pour over meat, turning to cover. Cook on low until tender, 6-8 hours or according to your device’s performance. Shred the meat with two forks, tossing to coat with the sauce. Serve in toasted buns. Cole slaw is a good side. Try adding some to your sandwich. And of course, serve with beer & Lousiana hot sauce. Serves 4. Adapted from June 2013 Woman’s Day, pg 106.



Try this scroungey riff on coleslaw:
4-6 cups shredded cabbage or cole slaw mix
2 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp cider vinegar
1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil
Salt & pepper to taste (a seasoned salt, like Lawry’s or Penzey’s Old World Seasoning works well)
1-2 Tbsp crystallized ginger, chopped into small pieces
Mix all together and let set 10-15 minutes before serving. Even better if you make it the night before, but who plans that far ahead?


  1. Gotta love the alligators! 🙂
    We always stop to get turtles out of the road before they get hit.
    Sadly I read recently of a study where researchers put rubber turtles on the side of a road where there would be plenty of room to avoid hitting it and a significant amount of motorists deliberately swerved to purposely hit the turtle. 😦

    • Yes, I read the same article about people running over turtles on purpose. How sad. Turtles are the oldest surviving reptile species. I think we need a bumper sticker that reads “I brake for turtles”!

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