From its birth, the snapping turtle is born into a world of turbulence, a world where it may disappear at any moment. Despite the species’ reputation for ferocity as adults, as children, all snapping turtles ask for are insects, worms, snails, small fish, water plants, and love. Regrettably, the last is in short supply. Poor hatchling snapping turtles often become the midday meal of such heartless lowlife as birds, raccoons, cats, dogs, and foxes.
The adult snapping turtle faces a threat from the continued destruction of its natural habitat. Snapping turtles spend the majority of their 50+ year lives in ponds, lakes, and streams, rarely moving across land unless forced to do so by the overcrowding or destruction of their habitat. Fortunately for those in its path, the snapping turtle is aggressive only when defending itself. Its penchant for bellicosity does not extend to all facets of behavior. In fact, snapping turtles bred in captivity can be quite friendly. The destruction of the homes of these compassionate creatures is truly a tragedy for our society.
But for the particularly unlucky snapping turtles, both children and adults, there rests a worse fate than loss of habitat: the incorporation into the most bourgeois of all broth-containing dishes, turtle soup. While Mock Turtle Soup was good enough to satiate the queen in Lewis Carroll’s classic, the monarchs of the modern world are more discriminating. Fortunately, technological advances in today’s society have made possible the existence of turtle farms, saving most wild snapping turtles from this terrible fate. Some, however, still demand the original recipe.
If you must make your soup from live turtle, the procedure is particular. Given an option, it’s best to pick up a snapping turtle with a shovel and toss it into your wheelbarrow or the bed of your pick-up. Be careful; they squirm. If equipment is limited, the recommended method involves placing one’s fingers behind the legs, then grasping the end of the shell. Do not pick up a turtle by the tail alone, as this may injure or damage the turtle. It is important to recognize, however, that turtle-picking is not for the faint of heart, or those with irrational fears of mysterious lubricants or animal waste byproducts. Apparently, turtles are slimy and like to defecate and urinate on people.
Luckily, cooking the turtle is a much easier procedure. First, chop off the head, but be careful, because it can still take a good chunk out of your finger. When the body starts to crawl away, dip it in boiling water and scrape off the shell. This way, you can enjoy your viciously murdered turtle carcass while minimizing the threat to your well-being.