Turtle Soup

I mentioned the other day, if you remember, that we saw a rather large, most likely snapping, turtle in our pond.

My husband wanted to shoot it.  I wouldn’t let him.

After all, I argued, it is just an animal being an animal.  It doesn’t deserver to be shot.  Do I want it in my pond?  Heck no!  I rather like my children with all of their toes still attached.  However, do I want an innocent animal to suffer an ignominious death?  Not particularly.  So I suggested we contact our neighbor.

See, we have this neighbor up the road a piece (that’s country talk) who is a . . . umm . . . not a marine biologist, because that denotes salt water . . . umm . . . I don’t remember.  I know what he is, but my brain can’t fetch the proper term.  Anyway, for lack of the proper term, the neighbor is a fresh water marine biologist.   He fiddles around with local ponds (fiddles, with an “F” not piddles with a “P”) (thank goodness) and studies things in them and whatnot.

He stops by every so often and adds things to our pond, removes things from our pond, builds nests for fish to start their little fishy families, stuff like that.  We don’t ask him to, he doesn’t ask if he can, and we’re all happy with the arrangement.  Everybody in Little Town knows him, he’s lived here all his life, and everyone says he’s a really great guy, so we trust him.  Plus?  We know nothing about ponds other than that they are fun to swim in if they aren’t too slimy.  And he?  Knows everything.

So, naturally, Mr. Freshwater Marine Biologist would be the person to talk to about how to catch the snapping turtle and relocate it to other waters.

Since Mr. Freshwater Marine Biologist stopped by today to catch some itty bitty water bugs (somebody he knows is apparently starting a new pond and needs some of these bugs so as to achieve the proper pond ecosystem or balance or whatever), McH seized the opportunity to ask him about ridding ourselves of the snapper.

“Do you have a gun?”  Mr. Freshwater Marine Biologist asked.

“Yes.”

“Then shoot it.  You don’t want a snapping turtle in a pond people swim in.” 

I should probably stop using quotes since I wasn’t actually outside and participating in this conversation.  But following his admonition to shoot the turtle came his methodology.  As it was related to me, it goes something like this:

Get yourself some road kill and tie it to (?something?) and an empty milk jug.  Float it out there in your pond, and when you see the milk jug go down, you know you’ve found your snapper.  Then just shoot it.

Does anyone else see more than one problem with that scenario?  Because I do.

First, I don’t really think I want to let my children swim in a pond that has had road kill floating in it.

Second, road kill and a milk jug?  Road kill and a milk jug??????  Never did I expect to find those words strung together on the menu of my life.  Know what I’m saying?

And after we tie road kill to a milk jug and shoot ourselves a turtle?  Then what?  Really, how do you top that???  Take up tabacky chewin’ and build a back yard still?

Seriously, I’m not trying to make fun of our neighbor.  He’s great.  Very knowledgeable and nice.  Has all his teeth, and I highly doubt he drinks hooch. 

I’m also not trying to make fun of Tiny Town, because it is not nearly as Cootervillian as Cooterville, where I spent the latter half of my formative years.  There is not a twang to be found anywhere around here.  And if it weren’t for areas of the country like this one, and the people who live and die here, none of us would have anything to eat unless we grew it or slaughtered it ourselves; and we also wouldn’t be able to drive automobiles from a bankrupt company.

But seriously folks, road kill and a milk jug?  Once I’m done rigging that contraption maybe I’ll dig a hole in the yard, cut up the seat of a folding lawn chair, plop it over top the hole, and then the kids won’t have to come in to potty.  And then maybe McH and I can take the riding mower out for spin and get us a fried bologna sandwich at the Supper Club.  We won’t get a babysitter or anything, just tie the kids to the trampoline (which reminds me, I should dig that hole close to the trampoline but build the still far away).

But then what?  Then what????  I am open to suggestions.*

And George, if you’re out there, Tewt the Newt is aghast at the idea of road kill in his pond.

*Don’t suggest we make turtle soup.  We already have someone who wants the turtle to make himself some soup, should we catch it.  No, it is not the neighbor who told us to shoot it.  It is someone else entirely.  Though, now that I think about it, he said we should shoot it, too.  People around here really aren’t rednecks.  “They’re outdoorsy, that’s all.”**

**Points if you can tell me the movie that comes from.

12 thoughts on “Turtle Soup

  1. Goodness, you are in the sticks!

    Really, though, if you think about it, tying the kids to the trampoline wouldn’t work. Their respective cords would get tangled and it’s a hazard and all…just saying.

    I would see if the person wanting to eat said turtle has a better way of catching it than road-kill and a milk jug. I’ll also ask around here as there are quite a few of those types around here as well. I commend you, I don’t think I could ever live on a property with a pond. The turtles, frogs, bugs, fish, scum, and all else that is pond-ish just eek me out a bit. I’ve swam in them, and would just rather not.

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  2. Tracy @ My Minivan Rocks!

    I don’t have any suggestions for the turtle, but wanted to share that I actually took a lawn chair with a hole cut out with me once when I went camping. I’m not exactly the outdoorsy-type. While my (female) friends initially made fun of me for bringing said chair, they were all begging me to let them use it after a couple of adult beverages by the campfire. Turns out peeing in the woods (and therefore on themselves) wasn’t as much fun as they remembered.

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  3. Nancy

    So, once you shoot the turtle, how do you retrieve it for soup? (Not for you, of course – for your outdoorsy friend.) Or do you just let it sink to the bottom, to disintegrate as pond kill?

    If you can swim with pond kill, what’s wrong with swimming with road kill? And why does it have to be road kill? Wouldn’t a turtle like an old chicken leg or something just as well? Raw, of course.

    I wonder how long you have to watch that milk jug before the turtle strikes. That chair with a hole in it might be handy for the adult with the gun doing the watching.

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  4. Fisheries biologist (that covers marine and freshwater ecosystems.) I know, cause I am one. I actually went to school and majored in “Fisheries and Wildlife.” Yep, it’s what my diploma says. Turtle ideas, not many. But, you’re right, you don’t want to get bitten. My aunt did at camp (she was a counselor, even!) and it made the rest of camp totally suck. My grandpa tried to keep my dad and his brothers (three total hellions, all only 2 1/2 years apart!) out of the “cow pond” when they were too little to understand what really was in there by telling them that a snapping turtle would get them. However, when he got home from work, there were the three little boys sitting on the front porch waiting for him. With scowls on their faces, they shouted, “Papa, there ain’t no ‘nappin’ nurtle in there!” So, good luck keeping the kids out till you lose the turtle!

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  5. Christina

    Oh My.
    1. How did the turtle get there in the first place?
    2. How do we know he doesn’t have an entire family in that there pond?
    3. Who is going to TOUCH the roadkill?!!
    4. Could you maybe call the local county wildlife people (the ones who take care of bears and whatnot) and see if they will take care of the turtle for you??
    5. Thanks for the morning laugh. This? Is a story I could never make up on my own!

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  6. I totally assisted in a snapper excavation last fall. I’m not even kiddin. basically we live-trapped it. ok that’s not true. we PUT it in a live-trap. and it was HUGE. it wasn’t as hard as you would think actually. they aren’t all that fast. we used a metal rack to basically pull it up on land and then, um, escorted it into the live trap. we then movedi t a few miles away into a bigger and more appropriate new lake. here’s the post:

    http://www.steppingonlegos.com/2008/08/06/day-7-or-another-day-in-paradise/

    Anyway it can be done. I think it would be a lot less problematic and icky than killing it. I’m not too opposed to killing it but it just seems messy.

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  7. My husband liked your word “cootervillian.” He was sitting next to me on the couch as I read your post and the word jumped out at him. 🙂

    Maybe you can coax the turtle out with a sexy she-turtle???

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  8. 1. Speaking from the perspective of a child growing up in my Indiana version of Cooterville with our own pond on property: if you think your pond is piddle free simply because neighbor isn’t indulging, you’re kidding yourself.

    2. Maybe if you dig your hole deep enough you’ll find crude — oil, that is! Black Gold! Texas Tea! Then your hillbilliness will be complete (but you’ll be rich so #$&*#’em!)

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  9. No advice, but I will thank you from the bottom of my heart for giving me a deep smile that I was in more desperate need of today than I can possibly tell you. Melissa’s comment sure helped too. You sure have a way of spinning a tale!

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  10. I don’t know. All I’m sayin’ is if you catch it, don’t dump it in the street so some dumb a$$ like myself has to find it a new home b/c my conscience becomes weighted by really stupid things, like snapping water turtles that people who don’t want them dump in the street.

    http://ourvalentinesdaytreat.wordpress.com/2009/03/22/mattys-new-turkle/

    And EW about the road kill. I think not. Good luck with your turtle trapping! Turns out they are REALLY mean.

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  11. Sunflower Seeds

    *snort* Turns out I read this when you first posted, but forgot to comment. I went away to try to think up something snappy (heehee) and totally forgot to return. That is, until you commented about my fly swatting skills. ;>)
    I’m not a great turtle hunter…I’m from Kansas, after all. We deal more with jack rabbits, ground hogs and rattle snakes. But might I suggest just a really big fish net and a sturdy box. Snag him and cart him off to another pond where he can find a nice girl turtle to spend the rest of his days with. 😉
    Personally I think you’d be better off calling PETA. I’m sure they’d be happy to ‘fly’ someone out there to ‘rescue’ your snapping turtle. Turtles deserve the ‘benefit of the doubt’ too ya know! In fact, I’d bet they’d offer to send a bunch of people in adorable outfits and with lovely signs to ‘visit’ your neighbor’s house to let him know how brilliant they think his road kill and milk jug suggestion is! 😉

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  12. metaphase

    Snapping turtles do come out of the water. So, it seems like you could use a live trap with some boiled chicken or something to catch it. (not roadkill.)
    I’ve relocated a rather large snapping turtle by hand. They aren’t that fast, and they always have their mouths open before that really fast whipping head action. As long as you hold it far enough back on its shell, it can’t get you. You may get scratched from its feet..gotta’ watch for that. I know it seems crazy, but it isn’t that bad. Then you could drop it in a box or something to take it where you were relocating him.

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