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It all seemed to have started with Steve Irwin, aka the Crocodile Hunter. Sometimes it was hard to tear your eyes away from the TV as he stalked and captured alligators and crocodiles, jumping on them and wrestling them into submission. But it wasn’t just those animals he messed around with. He also handled venomous snakes and all sorts of other creatures that would make your skin crawl.
After Irwin’s untimely death, few would have thought that yet another brave soul would emerge and pick up where Irwin left off, but along came Ernie Brown Jr., aka Turtleman. Brown is from Kentucky and is well known in his neck of the woods. Whenever someone has a critter that needs “disposing” of, they call Turtleman.
“Call of the Wildman” on Animal Planet chronicles Turtleman’s adventures throughout the bluegrass state. He has handled everything from possums and raccoons to snakes (both venomous and non-venomous) and, of course, turtles. Just like Irwin, he captures the animals, then releases them back into the wild. And like the Crocodile Hunter, he also does some risky things.
Take, for example, the time he climbed into a fireplace and up the chimney, all in hopes of catching a possum that had been causing problems for a couple. He didn’t use a ladder or even a footstool. He just hoisted himself up into the chimney and trapped himself in there with the possum. Eventually, Turtleman was able to catch the critter and extract him from the chimney, but not without a struggle.
His trusty “assistant” and best friend Neal James, takes phone calls for Turtleman from people who need to have animals removed. He then travels to Turtleman’s house and fills him in on the requests. Following the briefing, the duo and Turtleman’s dog Lolly, head off in search of the creatures. Despite the fact that some of these animals are dangerous, Turtleman seems unfazed in his quest to help his fellow Kentuckians.
He doesn’t use any special equipment when trapping animals. Instead, he is usually only armed with a pair of gloves and a sack. On occasion, he’s able to use things around him (like the time he trapped a raccoon in a trash can), but usually, it’s just him and the critter he’s tracking.
There is often a struggle, especially when he’s trying to catch a raccoon or possum, but Turtleman never leaves empty handed. When he’s successfully captured the creature, he lets out a victory call, “Yee, yee, yee, live action!”
The show isn’t flashy nor is it over the top. Turtleman just appears to be a guy doing his job, while being followed by a camera. He never appears to be acting for the show, nor does he try to impress viewers with facts or statistics about the animals he’s tracking. He’s just a down-to-Earth guy, trying to help people by removing wildlife from their homes and property. He appears to know quite a bit about animal behavior, but never tries to make viewers believe he’s anything other than an average Joe, trying to make a living.