He’s got a superhero name, a song written for him and a signature Indian rebel yell. Meet Ernie Brown, Jr., the Turtle Man of Kentucky.
On any given day Brown can be found wearing nothing but boots and jeans wading into muddy farm ponds to rid them of menacing snapping turtles – drawing an amazed crowd of gaping onlookers. The Turtle Man doesn’t believe in hurting a single one of the vicious beasts. “I don’t kill it, I catch it.” He compares himself to Robin Hood, moving a turtle from one pond to another “where he won’t do no violence.” He’s says he’s been bitten only 25 times in 36 years. His job is part pragmatism and part entertainment.
Set to banjo music and the catchy Turtle Man tune, this humorous video profile by the Lexington Herald-Leader (Kentucky.com) is a whimsical tribute to a rare and quirky profession. Clever Southern-drawled narration helps drive the story as Turtle Man dunks his head into pond after pond, and comes up gripping a turtle by its tail — whooping his high-pitched yell and flashing his toothless grin. The reactions of amazed onlookers and even a closeup of a turtle’s mouth snapping at the camera round out this story. Brown’s filling a void left by the untimely demise of the Crocodile Hunter in 2006, the narrator says, and people just can’t get enough of him.
By Amy Wilson and David Stephenson