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Squirt's Rescue
Katie, Age 10, Baldwin, MD

I wipe the sweat off my forehead as I touch the front door. “I win,” I call out to Eva, who’s sweating so much she looks like she’s going to faint. Emery comes running up past Eva from the opposite direction. “We told you our route was faster,” I said to Emery.

”Fine, you win.”

We walk inside and see our mom cooking some ravioli for lunch. “Do you want to go play the Xbox?” Eva asks me and Emery.

“No thanks,” I say. “I’m going down to the swamp.”

“Can we go?” Emery and Eva ask as I grab an apple out of the refrigerator.

“Sure", I say.

As we walk outside, our dog Maggie greets us by jumping on us and licking our faces.

We walk to the swamp and each sit on a large rock and watch frogs and fish jump in and out of the water.

As I take the first bite of my apple, I see a small turtle shell on a rock jutting out of the water.

“Look,” I yell forgetting that turtles are shy. We start to walk toward it, but before I can grab it, it jumps into the water. Splash! We all get swamp muck all over our clothes and in our hair.

“Ew,” Emery screams. We start to walk home.

When we get there, Emery is about to turn the doorknob, but I yell “Wait!”

“What,” Eva says. I run back to the swamp and see the small shell on the same rock. Emery and Eva run up behind me.

“What is it?” Eva screams.

“Sh! It’s a baby turtle! Where’s its mom?”

“Katie,” Eva says, "We should go home. We’re not supposed to bother wild animals.”

“Okay,” I say.

When we get home, we eat lunch. When Eva and Emery go upstairs, I grab a book on turtles and run back to the swamp. I find out from the book that the turtle I found is a Northern Map Turtle. They live in aquatic habitats and they eat molluscs, snails, crayfish, some plants, and worms. They are nocturnal and lay 10-16 eggs. I grab the turtle and put him in a large fish tank. I’ll name him Squirt.

I take him to an animal rehabilitator with my mom the next day. She says that he got hurt and separated from his mother but will be fine.

She calls our family every once in a while and tells us how he’s doing. He is a baby, so he is not quite six and a half inches yet. She calls us and says that he is getting better but that he has to learn to hunt food before we can set him free.

About a month later, I’m waiting for the animal rehabilitator to bring Squirt to release him back into the swamp. Emery and Eva are sitting next to me. The animal rehabilitator arrives in about ten minutes, and I am sitting there by the swamp. I watch Squirt disappear under the water. I realize something. I saved Squirt’s life!

File:Northern Map Turtle.jpg

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