Yesterday I visited a nearby botanical garden (not because I'm any sort of flower buff, merely because it's a nice place for walking), and in a large man-made pond could see many fish and lots of water
turtles swimming about. I noticed one pair of turtles in particular: a large one
swimming straight ahead, and a smaller one swimming backwards
of it. It looked like the big turtle was trying to avoid the smaller
one, but no matter which direction the big one turned, the little one would swim
faster, catch up and resume swimming backward in front of the big
turtle. From time to time, the little turtle held its front
flippers out and apparently slapped
the big turtle several times in a row, or spat water in its face.
Jeff and I stood by a railing commenting on this, and other people also
came by the rail to watch and make exclamations, and suddenly the light
dawned: "I know!" I said. "It's springtime -- that must be a mating
ritual! The smaller turtle is the male."
A couple feet next to me
stood a woman holding her toddler kid on the rail so he could watch the
turtles too, and she gave me a look which I'm quite certain was meant to
be disapproving, and said, "I
told him it was a mommy with her baby."