Soft-shelled turtles in dredged gutter in my neighborhood

When taking a walk in my neighborhood, I accidentally found two soft-shelled turtles. In Japanese, soft-shelled turtle is called “suppon”. It looks a kind of ugly, but it is a luxury food (e.g., “Suppon Nabe” in Japanese and “Soft-shelled Turtle Hot Pot” in English) and a dietary supplement because it contains abundant amino acids and collagen, etc. Some people drink its vital blood. But I can’t: I would say “Mu-ri-de-su (無理です)” because raw blood may contain parasites.

Sppon is written as “鼈” in Kanji. “鼈” is so difficult that probably few Japanese remember it in Kanji. Or should I say we don’t even try to memorize it. One of the Japanese proverb “Tsu-ki-to sup-pon” (月とすっぽん) means that these two (tsuki and suppon) are like the relationship between chalk and cheese, that is, superficially similar, but completely different. Tsuki and suppon mean the moon and soft-shelled turtle, respectively. The moon and a turtle shell are both round, but they are otherwise completely different. A similar proverb is “提灯に釣り鐘” (ちょうちんにつりがね, cho-chin-ni tsu-ri-ga-ne). “cho-chin” is a lantern. “Tsu-ri-ga-ne” is a hanging bell [a temple bell]. The weight and the size of a lantern and a temple bell are very different.

Soft-shelled turtles in the dredged gutter

May 24 16:25

dredged gutter
The gutter in my neighborhood was dredged and running short of water on May 24, 2016.

May 24 16:23

I found a soft-shelled turtle standing still whose soft-shell has already been dried.

May 24 16:23

While I was watching the soft-shelled turtle, it didn’t move at all because it pretended to be dead or as if it were a stone.

May 24 16:22

In 3 meters ahead, I found another soft-shelled turtle in mud. It pretended as if it were dead.

May 24 16:24

It gradually move its head back into its body. It seems to be wary of me and hiding not to be found by me.

May 24 16:25

It finally succeeded in hiding by pretending to be mud almost completely. It has become similar to it’s environment.

May 25 7:19

gutter after rain
The next day, I went to see the two soft-shelled turtles early in the morning. It was raining last night.

May 25 7:12

Suppon in gutter
The first one whose back was dried yesterday did not move from the corner at all.

May 25 7:12

But its back is wet. The color has changed.

May 25 7:16

I couldn’t find the yesterday’s second soft-shelled turtle at the same place. But when I was walking along the gutter, I found a swimming soft-shelled turtle as if it were running away from me. This suppon is probably at least the third one.

May 25 7:17

It stopped moving when I was approaching. It has begun to keep perfectly still under the small bridge not to be found.

May 25 7:18

It is on the alert for the enemy [me]. Soft-shelled turtles are very cautious.

After nine hours on May 25, I found two more suppon hiding in mud. Therefore, at least five suppon is likely to exist in this gutter.

May 25 16:56

This suppon is the fourth one.

May 25 17:08

This suppon is the fifth one.

May 25 17:06

This one is yesterday’s second one.


  1. Condensation trail in the western sky before the sunset

  2. Cherry Blossom viewing in my neighborhood in 2016

  3. A flower of passion fruit bloomed in only 20 min

  4. We visited Rose Festival at Hanaasobi on May 20, 2016

  5. Preparation of dried sepal of Roselle for Roselle tea

  6. Conveyor Belt Sushi

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