Flying Turtles

December 18, 2009 at 10:58 am | Posted in The Knave | Leave a comment

The flying turtle (Halitestudineus volatus), considered an insipid pest by some and a modern miracle of evolution by others, is the only turtle known to fly. The flying turtle’s scientific name signifies a sea (halo) turtle (testudineus) with the ability to fly (volatus). At one time, in the animal kingdom, “flying” was solely associated with the flapping of wings or in some cases gliding.  This turtle, however, uses ipsekinesis, which is the ability to move oneself through mental effort.  It is not known exactly when the first turtle developed this innate ability, but before long a small group, members of a new species, were flourishing in isolated parts of Canada (otherwise known as all of Canada more than fifty miles from its southern border).  This evolutionary advantage allowed the turtles to build safer nests in places protected from predators.  With average clutch sizes varying from 100 to 126 eggs, the flying turtle soon became the new Canadian pigeon, replacing the Canada goose, a bird the turtles have eaten nearly to extinction except for the few thousands that infest the lawns of business campuses across the United States.  Adult turtles weighing 200 to 350 pounds and measuring about 3 feet in length have begun wreaking havoc in urban centers such as Vancouver and Toronto in recent years as their nesting grounds expand.  Occasionally, a turtle, losing concentration, plummets to the ground, crushing cars, killing pedestrians or leaving craters in the streets.

The flying turtle is now found in every Canadian province and territory and has made inroads into Washington and Vermont where they flourish in part due to the liberal animal rights ideals of the populaces, but mostly due to the fact that Americans, like Canadians, tend to freak out at the sight of an enormous levitating reptile speeding at them with its giant beak open and ready to attack. The turtles are hunted and eaten in the undeveloped, less “enlightened” world, such as Alaska and the Dakotas.

The “Panzer Pigeon” as it is sometimes called, is a serious threat to mankind.  In Canada last year, there were over 20,000 turtle-related deaths:

Falling turtle traffic accidents                   8,002
Dive-bomb attacks by turtles
defending their nests            5,000
Turtles falling on unprotected crowds    2,500
Turtle-airplane collisions                          900
Turtle transmitted salmonella                 600
Other turtle-related deaths                       3,000

Half of these deaths took place in the “turtle-safe zones” of British Columbia, but no coastal region, including Newfoundland, where killing a turtle is rewarded with a free tank of gas, was completely safe from these shell-backed beasts.

The Royal Canadian Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing that the flying turtle be declared a public nuisance and a dangerous pest by at latest July 2040, but that decision was delayed when the Queen of England suspended the Canadian Parliament…again.  Meanwhile zoologists are trying to figure out how they will manage the species if most of its numbers are exterminated. Flying turtles have complex migratory patterns. While migrating, they use their broad, flat plastrons (a turtle’s bottom shell) to ride in columns of rising air called thermals, taking a break from the mental effort of ipsekinesis, while falling to earth and reaching an average speed of 30 mph (50 kilometers), before lifting themselves back into the sky with their unique brains. Effortlessly, a flying turtle can circle in a strong thermal down from high altitudes, steering itself with its flippers, and glide long distances in the direction of its migration until it finds the next column of rising air to glide down through. Generally, the turtles follow seasonal food supplies south in the winter to the Great Lakes or Prince Edward Island. Powerful jaws crush fish, mollusks, crabs and encrusting animals attached to reefs and rocks.  Swooping down from high above, the turtles have developed a taste for mice, squirrels and the occasional cat.  In the summer, however, the turtles return north to mate, lay their eggs and torment polar bears.  This migratory tendency will make it difficult to contain the turtles in a sanctuary if Parliament ever is allowed to cull their numbers.

With each female turtle laying thousands of eggs in her lifetime due to a lifespan averaging longer than that of a human, many, such as the People for Turtle Annihilation, advocate the mass extinction of flying turtles by the most enjoyable means possible, i.e. the use of rocket propelled grenades.  Others point to the potential applications to the human mind of this development in turtles, though research has not yet unlocked the secret of turtle flight.  Some entrepreneurs are making efforts to harness the lifting power of turtle ipsekinesis.  Perhaps someday, today’s turtle haters will regret their folly as a flock of turtles lifts them in a vehicle through the sky to the south of France for vacation.   Turtle transport might ultimately solve many of the world’s fuel problems as Earth’s fossil fuel supply continues to dwindle.  Only time will tell. – The Knave

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