Okay, we’re gonna sneak in real quiet here. (ominous music) Took a bite. I got a lot of blood coming out of my hand right now. (battle music) Over the course of my life, I have successfully caught and released over 500 snapping turtles. And my goal with each and every encounter is not to be bit. These turtles are incredibly powerful and their razor sharp jaws are capable of cutting through human flesh like a hot knife through butter. (screaming) It’s fair to say that I have had some close calls. I’ve also taken some intentional bites to show you just how bad a bite can truly be.
(yelling) He’s ripping the side of my hand. Oh my gosh. And as we are all aware (screaming) there have also been some pretty painful and gruesome unintentional bites. No matter how careful you are or how experienced you may be, accidents in the heat of action do occasionally happen. Get ready to witness the worst snapping turtle bite I have ever taken. (dramatic music) – Oh, if you are squeamish, I will warn you now, there will be blood. Okay I got another two right around me. Okay, um, try not to get bitten by another turtle, I got a turtle underneath me right now. Hold on. Huge turtle underneath my foot. Huge turtle in hand. Okay, this is definitely a dangerous scenario around here. Well it is another beautifully sunny day here in Columbus, Ohio and we are out searching for snapping turtles. I am back at Blacklick Woods, Ashton Pons, where some of the largest turtles in the state currently reside.
You guys know the turtle I’m looking for. Maybe you remember a little episode where I caught Stumpbeak. This is where he lives and right now I’ve been scouting with the binoculars and have seen several turtles moving about. Some on the backside of the pond and some over here. Which one of them is Stumpbeak, I’m not sure yet, but with any luck we’re gonna catch him and weigh him again and see if he has crossed it close to 60 pounds in weight. Now, this is gonna be a very difficult scenario for me because I’m gonna have to go out on the kayak and be extremely stealthy. These turtles are very much in tune with their environment and the second that they hear somebody trudging through, they immediately dive down into the murky abyss.
So, you walking along the edges of this pond, not possible. Me and a kayak sneaking up in stealth mode, with any luck, we’re gonna land ourselves a giant. Blacklick Woods is home to some very large dragons, including the infamous Stumpbeak. I was originally introduced to this turtle by wildlife photographer Carl Hassle, who captured photographic evidence of this giant reptile several years ago.
During the first season of Dragon Tails, I managed to land the beast and he tipped the scales at 54 pounds. So I’m curious to learn how much he has grown in three years. There he is, right back there underneath that log, I see Stumpbeak, he is actually moving into the shallows, likely claiming dominance of that territory. And again, right now it’s breeding season guys, so these snapping turtles are duking it out, dragon power, fighting each other for the rights to breeding territory.
And the giant has just moved back into that corner. Okay, let’s get in the kayak, I gotta catch him now. If I could land this behemoth for a second time, there was chance he could become the living world record for a wild caught common snapping turtle. The record currently hails at pounds and dates back to the year 1988. Could this turtle, who we all know is Stumpbeak, have gained 23 pounds in three years? Look at how massive this turtle is. Only a successful catch would tell. I’m halfway through the pond right now, I could just see the carapace breached on the other side of that log. Okay, we’re gonna sneak in real quiet here. (ominous music) Okay, he hasn’t heard me yet. Guys, this could be Stumpbeak. (splashing) There he is, there he is. Big turtle. Nice. Okay, I got another two right around me.
Try not to get bitten by another turtle. I got a turtle underneath me right now. Hold on. Huge turtle underneath my foot. Huge turtle in hand. Okay. This is definitely, definitely a dangerous scenario right here. Got him! – [Man] I see that. – Or run. And there goes my boat. Not good. I have another huge turtle underneath my foot as well.
Double dragon scenario here. Part two. Hold on. (heavy breathing) (grunting) Ow. Took a bit, took a bite. Bad bite. Wrong end of the turtle, hold on. (grunting) Alright, gonna need some assistance. – [Man] We’ll go around. – Shoot, I really wanna get this turtle too. Alright, I’m abandoning that turtle and we’re going in towards shore. You gotta know when you’ve gone far enough. Okay. – [Man] You alright? – Wow, that is a giant right there. Man. I got a lot of blood coming out of my hand right now. Turtle took off the top of my finger. Most dangerous thing you can ever do is reach your finger down into the water after a turtle. Alright, this is gonna need some first aid. We’re gonna bring this turtle around and get him up close. We got ourselves a giant here.
– You alright? – Yeah, I’m good. That’s a big turtle. Unfortunately, it is not Stumpbeak. It’s just another one of the giants that lives here at Ashton Pond. It may have been Stumpbeak underwater. I reached down, tried to get myself into a double dragon scenario and it took the top of my finger off. As you can see, it is just the tip hanging on. Okay, let’s get up there, let’s get my finger wrapped and let’s get the rest of this scene. Whoo! Man, I lost my boat. Whoo. Well, I literally jumped into the middle of a snapping turtle fight. Two giants battling it out. I didn’t realize there were two there until I was up on top of the log and jumped in. And this was the first one I could grab. And I thought, “Okay, well, I gotta get this turtle, “at least, away from my legs.” So I reached down, hoping to feel for the top of the carapace and unfortunately my finger went down just off the side it turned it’s head and got my whole finger in it’s mouth.
Uh, it’s probably worse than it looks, or maybe not as bad as it looks. I don’t know which, but when I looked at it, when it initially came up, the whole side of my finger is chomped off. You could see the blood coagulating there and this is exactly why we need to respect snapping turtles form a safe distance, guys. Well, before I weigh the turtle, first I have to tend to my finger. I’m gonna actually cover him up and to do that I’m gonna get this turtle lay bag wet just to keep him nice and cool here in the sun. He will be fine, but this will also keep him calm and locked in position. You see that? Turtle under bag, he’s gonna stay put. Okay, I got my first aid to my own finger. What I have here is a bottle of water, some gauze, a compression bandage, a bandaid and a simple pocket knife. What I wanna do is just temporarily get pressure on this, stop the bleeding so that we can finish the presentation and get the weight of this turtle.
Like I said, I have not caught this turtle before so getting it’s weight is very important. Alright, makeshift blood clot right there. And now, we can continue on with the presentation of this scene. And I think this is probably a very good point in time to note that snapping turtles, even for somebody like me who is a professional and who’s handled hundreds of these turtles, can occasionally get a bite on you. And I’m very lucky that the turtle did not hold onto my finger or get more of it than it did. A few stitches will fix that right up, but right now, let’s take a look at this giant. Ooh, hey buddy. Oh now he’s got the turtle weigh bag in his mouth.
We need that back, come on. Here, I’m gonna pick him up. There we go. Hi buddy. Look at you. That is about as perfect as it gets for a common snapping turtle specimen. Now this is not Stumpbeak, but it is very similar in design. The carapace, which as we know is the top of the shell, looks almost identical to Stumpbeak’s shell. Now, when I went back there, there was another turtle and it may have been Stumpbeak that bit my finger. But, this one is equally as handsome looking and certainly as healthy. This is not a 60 pound turtle, but I’m guessing it is probably somewhere close to 50. And like I said, this is a turtle that we do not yet have on record here.
But, let’s take a look at this creature’s tail. Let me turn it around for you here like this. Can you see it? – Yeah. – Go ahead and zoom in there. A true dragon tail on this reptile. Let’s see if I can bend it down a little bit for you there. – Wow. – Quite the beast. I’ll tell you what, it’s a lot harder to handle a turtle too when you’re missing the tip of your finger. And I’m trying to be really really careful right now, so that I’m not bitten a second time. But, look at those front limbs. He is massive. Huge claws, all in perfect condition. Perfect beak, eyes fully intact. You guys wanna see what his plastron looks like? Here, let me lift it up for you so you see just how healthy this turtle is. Look at it’s underside there. That is an absolute giant. And as we know, turtles and their relatives have been on the planet for over 200 million years and you can certainly see the prehistoric nature in this creature.
Hi, buddy. I know, you would love to get my nose in your mouth. We’re gonna try to avoid that today, okay. Alright, next thing I wanna do is get the weight of this turtle so we officially have it on record. And to do that, I’m going to set him down, very gently here. Hold on just a second there, buddy. Okay. I do have my trusty turtle scale with me. Now this goes up to 50 pounds in weight. I do not believe that this turtle is over 50 pounds, but I am guessing that he is close. You see that, if we hit fifty pounds it’s considered a true swamp monster.
I also have my turtle weigh bag here with me, and to do this… Ah ah, you stay. Sometimes, they listen to me. Okay, I’m gonna gently place him down inside of the bag, then we’re gonna hoist him up. This is gonna cause no harm to the turtle whatsoever, and actually inside the bag he will be a little more calm. Just like crocodilians when you keep their eyes covered, don’t you bite the bag, – Watch your fingers! – … They often times stay calm.
And this is tricky because once he’s in the bag, then of course, you don’t know where the head is and things can get dangerous. Okay, turtle is in the bag. Head is right there. Now, he can still bite through the bag, so we have to be extremely careful. I’m gonna bring the turtle up, and then I’m gonna get the position of the weight. Are you good? One, two, three. – [Man] Is it maxing it? – Nope. Okay, right there. 34 pounds is what he clocks in at. I knew he was under 50, but that is still a really, really good sized snapping turtle. Alright, now the tricky part, getting him back outta the bag.
Okay, the heads on that side. Alright, come on buddy. Out you go. Alright. I know, don’t bite the bag. Don’t bite the bag. Okay. Oh, what a big boy. There he is. Whoo. Tell you what, even at 34 pounds, that is a lot to handle right there. – [Man] So, what’re you gonna name him? – Well, since it’s a new catch, I think we should call him Big Chomper, how about that? – [Man] Yeah.
– Awesome. Remember guys, we’re still looking for that world record sized snapping turtle. So write in the comment section below, send up pictures on social media. (hissing) I hear you hissing. Show us the pictures of the turtles you’ve seen and if it looks like something that could be world record, we may show up in your city, in your back yard, in your pond to try to land a world record snapping turtle. I’m Coyote Peterson, be brave. Stay wild, we’ll see you on the next adventure. Alright, time to get him back into the water and get me to the hospital to get this finger sewn up. So, what did we learn? Well, for starters, I didn’t catch Stumpbeak. So, that means it’s still a mystery as to whether or not he has grown to world record proportions.
I also learned what happens when you blindly reach your hand into the water after a snapping turtle. Ouch. But, I got lucky once again. And hopefully my mishap was clear warning that snapping turtles have the potential to be incredibly dangerous. Truth be told, I never went to the hospital. But instead cleaned the bite thoroughly and kept a close eye on it to make sure that infection did not set in. This was certainly one painful mistake. But in the end, I love turtles. Even if they do occasionally try to bite my fingers off. Hey Coyote Pack, I have some exciting news.
I am proud to announce that the crew and I are headed back on tour with Brave Wilderness. Our next shows take place in the Midwest. Tickets can be purchased at the Brave Wilderness website. And these shows are certain to sell out. So, make sure that you reserve your seats today. And don’t forget, subscribe, so you can join me and the crew on the next big adventure. I’m Coyote Peterson, be brave.
As found on Youtube