“Uggghhhhh!” it went again, a reverberating sound straight from hell. It was louder this time.
“What is it...?” I whispered as we passed under a breadfruit tree. It was a wonder the fruit weren’t shaking from all the noise. “And where’s it coming from? It sounds like a dragon giving birth.”
We were inside a huge herbal jungle. Along its many trails, tourists could stop and stare at the different plants and indigenous creatures native to the Seychelles. But what else lurked behind the thick foliage, we wondered?
As we edged through the jungle, we tried to sense any indication that the beast might be nearing, but thick leathery leaves blocked any view beyond a few feet. “UGGGGHHHH!” it suddenly roared. It sounded like it was just across from us.
And then, we came to a clearing and could see the source of the terrible sound. Immediately the straining moans made perfect sense. It was a giant tortoise on top of another giant tortoise, and both were engaged in an act of pure reptile coitus. Every time the male heaved forward, he made the tortured sound: mouth agape, eyes half-closed and tongue lolling over the side of his chops.
“Jesus bloody Christ!” I said, staring at the sordid scene. The female tortoise looked uninterested by the whole proceedings, as did the other tortoises in the enclosure, but the male on top was heaving like an old man doing a press-up.
“UGGGGGGHHHHH!” it bellowed again, hoisting itself forward. Beside me, Angela was laughing, while the deep resonant sound cascaded through the rainforest.
“I’ll tell you something,” I sniggered as we walked to the edge of the enclosure. “This one has got some stamina. He’s been going at it for ages. He looks like he’s about to pass out.”
And then we noticed that things were not going according to plan for the randy reptile. His female companion had pressed her shell hard to the ground, effectively staunching his cold-blooded advances. After another couple of heaves, he gave up and simply collapsed on her back, neck pulsing and tongue flopping. The jungle returned to its normal state of chirping and wind rustling. The monster had been felled.
Jason Smart is a teacher, traveller and writer based in the United Kingdom. So far, he’s visited over one hundred countries, including many African and Asian nations, as well as every single republic of the former Soviet Union. When he’s not travelling, Jason plays bass guitar in a rock band. Visit his website: www.theredquest.com.