Removing Snapping Turtles From Your Pond in North Carolina

Eric is often asked how to remove snapping turtles or catch them and relocate than and if they’re dangerous. Most Snapping Turtles are totally harmless and if you have a pond, you’re probably going to have Snapping Turtles.

Interviewer: What do you do about snapping turtles in your pond?

Eric: What do you do? Okay. Well, first of all, we need to understand that not all turtles in your pond are snapping turtles. I guess, we got like the red-eared sliders and the eastern painted, and… But, the snapping turtles… if you ever see a snapping turtle you’ll know it. They look absolutely prehistoric. They’re really dark, almost black, like a dark olive green.

Their shell looks kind of small, like a full… usually a full grown snapper is like.

Interviewer: [Inaudible].

Eric: 18 inch shell and everything. You always hear about the guys that have found the 50, the 60s and the 75s. Wildlife guys tell me that a big snapping turtle in Chatham County is 35 pounds.

I’m not doubting that people have seen them, 50 or 60 or whatever, but just on average, they’re like 18 to 35 pounds and that’s a lot of turtle. You do not want to mess with it.

Their heads are the size of my fist. Their necks are huge. There’s almost no safe way to grab a hold of it. If you grab the back half of their shell. If you were to draw a plus sign and grab it behind the back half. But people cannot underestimate how freaking long their necks are and how quick they are and how tough they are and you really could lose a finger or get a good bite. And the other thing too is when you’re holding onto the sides, they have claws. They will scratch and they’re… they don’t like to be held. It actually causes them, a lot of stress is what the wildlife guys tell me.

But I mean, the truth of matter at it… you have a snapping turtle in your pond, they are going to eat your fish.

They don’t like the big fish so much. If they’re… if you see them eating a big fish, it’s probably…it already died, but they do eat a lot of small fish. They do eat ducklings, and, so that gets some people upset. If you have a pond in North Carolina or Chatham County, you’re going to have snapping turtles. And there’s really no way to keep them out of, or away from the pond.

How do you get rid of them if you want to get rid of them? There’s some really good live traps and it’s basically the same setup trap system as like a raccoon or a possum or a squirrel trap. But, these are a little bit heavier gauge, a little bit wider and they’re meant to be in the water.

And so, that’s the most humane thing, is to catch them. The other fix is a 22 and eventually their heads will pop out of the water and people will get rid of them that way. And, a lot of people will bait and catch them with a hook and a Clorox bottle with a triple hook and some chicken livers.

Interviewer: Is there a good place to relocate them?

Eric: Yeah. Someone’s pond you don’t like.

I do have some Cajun clients that will relocate them. Relocate them into their belly. I have some New Orleans clients that… they say, “Eric, please, if you,” It is a common thing to eat in the Bayou at New Orleans area. And they really like some turtle soup and everything. And that’s… they have to soak it in cream. There’s… They have to drain them, it’s a huge… it’s really difficult to clean them and everything. But you’re going to get snapping turtles in your pond. I recommend a live trap and relocating them to somebody else’s pond or, some kind of public pond or whatever. The nice thing is, if you swim in your pond, they’re not going to bother you at all. I’ve never heard of someone swimming in a pond and losing a toe or getting bitten by a snapping turtle. They don’t want any part of you. The most dangerous snapping turtle is one that you see walking from pond to pond. It’s either a male looking for a female and doesn’t want to be bothered by you, or it’s a female looking to lay her eggs in a safer place, and doesn’t want to be bothered by you.

So, normally snapping turtles will stay away from you. But, if they’re walking from pond to pond, you might want to stay away.