A turtle's neck is actually much longer than most nature programs let on. They can go for thirty-five or even one hundred feet, and are usually mistaken for snakes in the undergrowth. People generally make cracks about the comparative slowness of the turtle, but would you move around hastily if everything within a one hundred foot radius was at arm's (or neck's) reach?|
Back in the Middle Ages when men still measured various distances by the lengths of their respective king's body parts, turtles took a decisive role in the invention of the modern tape measure (just ask James Burke). They used to divvy up turtles neck's into lengths of the current monarch's measurements and then go and use them much as we would use a tape measure today. They were even better than modern tape measure to some extent because you could clamp their little mouths onto something and then just walk away unreeling the rest of their spine. When you go to the end of whatever you were measuring, all you had to do was just pull on the little bugger's tail until the shock unclamped his head and it would come screaming back towards his little body. Often times these procedures rendered the turtle unconscious, but he'd get over it. The obvious problem with using turtles as tape measures was that whenever they managed to escape into a pond, when you finally retrieved them again, all of their markings were washed off and you had to make another appointment to measure the king...or get a new king; which ever was easiest at the moment.
Eventually the turtles got fed up with their horrendous treatment and we had what history books don't mention as the "Snapper Rebellion." In the Snapper Rebellion, the snappers were the fiercest of all the turtle warriors and led towards an easy decisive victory over mankind. Since this time most of the turtles settled down to relative obscurity and keep the vast expanses of their necks hidden in the windup mechanism within their shells. All that is except the snapping turtles, who, by the way, do not let it wander too far, but farther than many of their modern counterparts; they're just cocky. Most snapping turtles are still very bitter about the annexation of their post war land settlements and this is why they have the reputation of being the cruelest of turtles: they're still trying to get revenge.