Professional herpetologist John Roe tells his son about the time he was bit by a turtle in front of his students.

Tasman and John Roe

JR: Well I was teaching a class of students at the Indian Culture Center in Pembroke where we set traps for yellow-bellied sliders and snapping turtles. And we caught maybe 100 turtles and we were having to measure them and I was helping to coordinate the activities of about twenty students to make sure that they didn’t get hurt or bitten. But I had a handful of turtles at one point and I wasn’t paying attention. And one of them just bit me on the forearm underneath where it’s kind of soft and it hurts really badly. And it bit–.

TBR: Wait no, no. One of your students asked you what kind of turtle was it, and then you took it and then you were holding it like a football just trying to determine it and it bit you.

JR: That’s right.

TBR: And then it held onto you for a while.

JR: It held onto me for a long time. It pulled in its head inside of its shell and it took my

skin with it. And so I had this section of my arm that was being sucked into the turtle shell and it was not letting go. But I couldn’t act like it was hurting because I didn’t want my students to get scared. I was trying to show them how to act professionally around the turtles, and so I just had to sit there and pull and pull and pull until finally the turtle let go, and I had a huge wound in the shape of a turtle beak.

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