Over the weekend, the third Norris lake turtle mauling was reported in as many months. Derek Rivera was on the beach with his girlfriend Maria when the turtle struck. “I was getting it on with my woman, and suddenly this big turtle jumped out of the water and bit the crap out of my toe,” explained Rivera, “it hurt. So I kicked it off, but it came back and that’s when it really got nasty. Just look at my arm, man.”
Rivera was lucky, and escaped with minor skin abrasions, with a few turtle nips on his cheek, arms, chest, and several toes. Randall Conley was attacked last month, and lost more than a little skin. “That’s the last time I go skinny dipping,” Conley told us before slamming the door in embarrassment. The story around the third mauling is a bit more vague and is rumored to involve several local write-in candidates for political office in Anderson and Union Counties, some moonshine, and several packages of Sudafed. That case is still under investigation.
|This photo shows the turtle that mauled
Derek Rivera. You can tell it is really pissed
and would like to bite the photographer.
There have only been 14 documented turtle maulings in the past 53 years, since records have been kept. Most of them were limited to children who admitted to poking cornered turtles with sticks. But the recent trend has shown predatory turtle behavior.
This unusually high rate of turtle maulings has left area scientists baffled. Some attribute it to competition for food and nesting sites, while other scientists are convinced turtles are just mad because of the recent increase in development around Norris Lake.
Whatever the cause, be aware that any appendage may be up for grabs while in or near the water at Norris Lake. Some turtles have been reported to crawl into boats and start biting, but this is rare. Public safety officials have now listed turtles alongside gar and giant, man-sized catfish, as the only predatory animals living in the lake.