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Snapping turtle and stubborn NC cop engage in standoff during rush hour. But who won?

Hillsborough Police Lt. Andy Simmons says he spotted this snapping turtle blocking traffic early Monday and stopped to help.
Hillsborough Police Lt. Andy Simmons says he spotted this snapping turtle blocking traffic early Monday and stopped to help.

A strange police standoff played out Monday in Hillsborough, North Carolina, when a stubborn cop tried getting an equally-stubborn snapping turtle out of the road during rush hour.

A photo of the odd encounter was posted Monday on the Hillsborough Police Department’s Facebook page by Lt. Andy Simmons.

He told the Charlotte Observer that his tug-of-war with the turtle lasted for more than 20 minutes, and that the critter snapped at him repeatedly.

“This gator was not pleased with the assistance I was trying to provide,” Simmons posted, using the term “gator” to describe the turtle’s snapping demeanor.

“If we were keeping score, this would be a draw: Turtle .5 and Lieutenant .5,” he continued. “After 20 minutes, he was just giving dirty looks from the bushes. I am not convinced he wanted the help.”

Simmons told the Charlotte Observer he was on his way into work Monday when he saw drivers on Dimmocks Mill Road trying their best to dodge the turtle.

He got out, parked his patrol car to block traffic, and began using a snow brush to “encourage him to cross the road” at a faster pace.

The turtle responded by snapping at the brush rather than moving, Simmons said.

“He had some place to be and I’m not sure if I was showing him the way he wanted to go,” Simmons told the Observer. “Maybe he wanted to go east and I was pushing him west.”

Snapping turtles are so named because of their defensive habit of biting “readily with their strong jaws if approached,” according to

Commenters on the police department’s Facebook noted that they, too, have been struggled to “help” snapping turtles get out of the traffic, and the turtles were never appreciative.

“The last turtle I tried to help across the road it snapped at me and acted like it was going to run at me,” posted Carrie Chatman on Facebook. “I made it back to my car and kept it moving.”

The Turtle Survival Center in South Carolina is a safe place where efforts are being made to replenish the nations population of rare and endangered turtles.

This 275 lb. loggerhead turtle, was one of twelve released Wednesday, April 25, 2018 off Ocracoke Island, NC after being rehabilitated at the NC Aquaruim on Roanoke Island. The turtles were rehabilitated after being stunned by cold ocean waters.

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