Ask SAM added to shell 110518

Q: What on Earth is “sun butter”? My mother used to make apple butter, a spread for bread. On which grocery store shelf would I look? Sun butter has been mentioned twice in recent articles about the food served in school cafeterias.


Answer: Sun butter is similar to peanut butter, but made from sunflower seeds for the sake of people with allergies to peanuts or other nuts.

There is a brand name, SunButter, which was introduced in 2002, but the phrase is sometimes used for other generic and store brand products. Sunflower seed butters are generally sold on the same shelves as peanut and other nut or nut substitute butters.

Q: Last week, I stopped to help a turtle cross Reynolda Road. I carried it across the road in the direction it was heading. Was this the right thing to do?


Answer: Yes, it was, as long as you were being careful about your safety as well as the turtle’s. Here are some tips from the Turtle Rescue League (, a website devoted to turtles:

  • Be safe while helping the turtle. Busy streets are dangerous for would-be rescuers and turtles alike.
  • Put on your hazard lights, and pull fully off the road. Make sure other drivers see you before stepping onto a road.
  • Never turn a turtle around or move it back to the side of the road it was coming from. The turtle is on a mission, and if you turn it around, it will simply go back across the road when you drive away. Put it on the side of the road it was heading toward.
  • If the turtle is injured, you should check with a veterinarian or a group such as the Kernersville Reptile Zoo and Medical Center at 336-749-3250 or Wildlife Rehab Inc. at 336-785-0912. If the turtle is not injured, and can be released in the general area, you should do that instead.
  • When picking up a small turtle, grasp it on either side of its shell behind the front legs. The turtle will still be able to kick at you, but many will choose to stay safely tucked in during the short time you are moving them.
  • Keep the turtle low to the ground when moving it. If it pushes free of your grip, you do not want it to fall and injure itself.
  • If the turtle is large with a long tail, it may be a snapping turtle, which could be more aggressive, and you may not want to attempt picking it up. Push it with a blunt object, but nothing sharp.
  • Don’t try to relocate the turtle. Many have “home ranges,” and when relocated they will search for ways back.

According to reptile experts, turtles, and especially box turtles, are particularly active around dawn and dusk. They will frequently be seen on or near roadways, either warming up or hunting food such as worms, slugs, bugs and vegetation.

Chad Griffin, who runs the Kernersville Reptile Zoo, said that he has been getting a lot of calls lately about turtles. “We get several calls daily,” he said. “There’s a lot more construction going on this year, and what that’s doing is dispersing the turtles, whether it’s pond turtles or box turtles, so we’re seeing a lot more this year than normal.”

You can see more about box turtles on Griffin’s YouTube channel,

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Write: Ask SAM, 418 N. Marshall St., Winston-Salem, NC 27101 

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