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July 21, 2008

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Snapping Turtle Kisser Speaks With Forked Tongue

Hey Newshounders! We admit that we’re sometimes just as amazed as you with some of the odd tales we track down about life in the outdoors.

And just when you think you’ve seen and heard everything weird that could possibly occur between people and wild critters, we’d like to introduce you to Calvin “Clicker” Embry.

Embry, a 41-year-old laborer and turtle hunter from Wayne City, Ill., told Evansville Press & Courier columnist Len Wells that he’s performed his crowd-pleasing turtle-kissing act about a hundred times--and he’s never been bitten once.

Until this past Fourth of July, that is.


That’s when Embry, at the urging of one of his friends during a local fireworks display, decided to show folks how he can hypnotize a 15-pound snapping turtle by rubbing its underside, and then kiss it on the nose—just above its namesake jaws.

(As a disclaimer, before I write any further, I have absolutely no idea whether alcohol was involved in the incident as it subsequently unfolded.)

In Clicker’s words, here’s what happened.

“I got him out of the truck, tilted him down at just the right angle and started rubbin’ his belly. I must have tilted him the wrong way, ‘cause he woke up. I can usually kiss him on the snout, then lick their eyeballs before they wake up, but something went really wrong.”

Wrong, indeed.

With the business end of the snapping turtle firmly attached to his tongue, Embry said he found it difficult to instruct a friend on the finer points of prying its jaws open with a knife.

“Do you know how hard it is to talk with a 15-pound snappin’ turtle hanging off the end of your tongue?”

Later, with the snapper successfully removed, Embry headed to the nearest hospital emergency room, where he was surprised to learn that the attending physician thought his accident and injury were unlike anything he’d ever seen in his long medical career.

“That doctor hadn’t ever seen anything like this, so he took some pictures for the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine,” Embry told The Courier-Press columnist. “I got a tetanus shot and he sent me home.”

As for Clicker, he figures it was just another day in the life of a turtle hunter.

Except that he’s going to have to work on pronouncing words beginning and ending with “s” and “th” for awhile.


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That's a hoot. There is currently a Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks crew out doing population monitoring on spiny-softshell turtles on the Yellowstone River. We'll see if those guys want to give it a try. -- mark



Wilbur Tibbetts

That's the olde rural Maine story..

Famous last lines..."got a match? I think my gas tank is empty" and...

"Here, Hold my beer...watch this"