Wetland manager Vic Bogosian has trapped more than 1,700 turtles at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, and, he says that barely scratches the shell.
Q: Why do you trap turtles?
A: Wetland managers think that if they provide habitat for ducks and geese, other wetland critters will be OK, too. Catching and counting turtles is one way to see if this is true.
Q: How do you catch turtles?
A: I put dead fish at the end of long, tube-shaped nets. Turtles crawl in to eat the fish but can’t figure out how to crawl out.
Q: Is it stinky working with dead fish?
A: You bet, but working with live fish can be stinkier. Once, a huge catfish got tangled in my net. I didn’t want the fish to stab me with its spines, so I wrapped it in my shirt while I untangled it. After work, I had to take my wife to the grocery store. My shirt smelled so bad she made me walk behind her so people wouldn’t know we were together.
Q: What do you do with the turtles you catch?
A: I measure them, mark them, and turn them loose. A few weeks ago, I re-caught a turtle I marked in 2011. It’s cool to know he’s been out on Eagle Bluffs, plodding along all this time.
Q: What’s the best part about trapping turtles?
A: Pulling up a net is like opening a Christmas present. You never know what you’ll find inside.
Alligator snapping tur tle Turtles can bite. They also carry germs. Leave the turtle wrangling to experts like Vic.
Nichole LeClair Terrill