NEW YORK - Another southern animal rescuer? If you think you’ve seen them all, nobody compares to the bare-handed trappin’ approach of Animal Planet’s bluegrass hero “Turtleman.”
For the past four decades, Ernie Brown Jr. — aka Turtleman — has been diving into Kentucky’s murkiest ponds in search of an animal capable of biting through bone.
Brown, who lives in Marion County, has handled just about every species of wild animal those woods have to offer — including raccoons, skunks, snakes, poisonous spiders and possums. An animal lover, native Kentuckian and local celebrity (partly due to a viral YouTube video that has received over 3.4 million views since 2008), he’s earned a living as an animal rescuer for the past 15 years. With a “trademark” celebratory yell following each successful capture, Turtleman safely reintroduces frisky critters to nature using his self-taught trapping style.
Accompanied by his canine companion, Lolly, and armed with backwoods wits as sharp as the steel blade he carries, aptly named “Thunder,” Turtleman has the uncanny ability to catch monster snapping turtles with his bare hands and return them into the wild unscathed. Now, in Animal Planet’s new 12-part, half-hour series, he’ll go toe-to-claw saving Kentucky’s deadliest and feistiest animals in Call of the Wildman, premiering Sunday, Nov. 6, at 10 p.m.