Topic: Snapping Turtle saying...

Curious how many of you have heard this one:

"Don't let a snapping turtle bite you 'cause it won't let go till it thunders."

I don't remember hearing it before a couple of weeks ago and then heard it AGAIN a few days ago.

Kory Roberts: Email | Facebook | Flickr | YouTube


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

I haven't heard that one in since I was a kid. (That would be in the 50's and early 60's)


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

One of my best friends grew up around Sedalia, Mo.  His dad and uncle were bonafide hillbilly's.  His uncle in particular was as back woods as it gets.  I don't think I ever saw him without overalls with no shirt, a beer in one hand, and a cigarette in the other.  "Uncle Harold" was the one who first told us about the snapping turtle and the thunder.  He also told me that he "saw" a hoop snake take its tail in its mouth and roll down a hill.  When the snake got to the bottom of the hill it "stung" the tree with the tip of its tail.  The tree subsequently "died right there!"  Sometimes silence is appropriate.

Marc Morris - Arkansas Valley Reptiles


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

Yep, I've heard the snapping turtle/thunder story in GA.

He also told me that he "saw" a hoop snake take its tail in its mouth and roll down a hill. When the snake got to the bottom of the hill it "stung" the tree with the tip of its tail. The tree subsequently "died right there!"

Interestingly, that exact same story has been published in the scientific literature about snake myths. According to that article, that story has been told in NC, PA, and NJ. If you are interested, the citation for the article is:

Moore, Clifford B. 1949. America's mythical snakes. The Scientific Monthly 68:52-58.

It's never worth it to communicate with people. --Jacob

The only difference between the government and the mafia is that the government calls its bill collector the “IRS” and the mafia calls its bill collector “Big Louie.”


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

"Don't let a snapping turtle bite you 'cause it won't let go till it thunders."

Being the only person in my family interested in herps, I was told this numerous times growing up. Especially by my grandpa. After I got older, I continued to hear it from many of them. It seemed like some of them were just joking with me, but others I think honestly believed it.

On a semi-related note. One of my cousins caught a box turtle (I think) and decided to make funny faces at it. The turtle promptly bit a little chunk off of the middle of his nose. Luckily, there were plenty of pictures shortly after so there is a nice record of what not to do with turtles. Since it wasn't a snapping turtle, it let go immediatly.

Josh Engelbert
Copan, OK


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

I was always told that if a snapper did bite you....it took SEVEN claps of thunder for it to release.

Braithre Thar Gach Ni


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

When i was 11, i was bit by a box turtle and it wouldn't let go, and my grandmother told me it won't let go until it thunders, it soon let go. a couple weeks before that, i was in florida, and i brought a 6ft EDB home, it had been hit by a car and i assumed it was dead, she proceeded to tell me that rattlesnakes don't die until after sunset, and scary enough, the snake wasn't dead, it started moving again, lucky for me i didn't get bit, i drug it home by its tail, that was about 1 and a half miles.



Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

I was  6 or 7 when my dad told me (kidding)"won't turn loose 'til it thunders" but I thought he meant that my FINGER would make some sort of horrible noise before the turtle turned loose!!   (I was a strange kid.)

"...be as wise as serpents..."  Matthew 10:16
"...I just thought that should be brung out"  ~Goober (on 'The Andy Griffith Show')


Re: Snapping Turtle saying...

[color=#008000:1qia9047]I heard this saying this year 'cause I have two snapper babies with interesting backgrounds that I discuss with others.  When this guy said it, he also said, "You know what the 'thunder' is?"  He made a pistol gesture with his hand...so, I think it means the sound of a gun being shot (at the biting snapper) to make the snapper let go (killing/maiming in the process)...not waiting till the next time it storms...that could be quite a wait. yikes That's the way I took this saying...would seven claps be seven shots? Overkill...even for the beasties!

Howey, you're a snapper expert...what do you think?[/color:1qia9047]

Kerri McCabe

“Happy the man to whom every tree is a friend…” –John Muir

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