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Don't Skin MeHow to Clean a Snapping Turtle


1. Put live turtle in a 55 gal. drum for 7 days, to allow it to empty it's system, it helps with the smell. Keep fresh water in the drum. Scoop out the feces with a net.

2. Using channel locks, hold him tight by the mouth with neck stretched out. Cut off his head.

3. Hang him upside down to bleed out for about 30 minutes.

4. Put him on his back, cut claws and feet off.

5. Cut skin around shell top and bottom, cut and pull skin away from shell on the front legs until skin is removed.

6. On the soft shell belly outside edge of shell, cut through soft shell contact points and remove.

7. Remove guts and innards.

8. Remove front legs, may need to twist to break the joint.

9. Cut and peel skin from back legs and neck.

10. Remove back legs and neck, again twisting to break joints.

11. Leave meat on bone, but try to remove as much fat as possible.

12. Wash with cold water, repeat until clean.

13. Freeze submerged in water.

Many thanks to Chad Glidden for sharing this information.


Chad says to cook the turtle like you would chicken. Season it with paprika, salt and pepper and roll in flour. Fry in a skillet or bake it like a pork tenderloin. If anyone has any recipes for cooking turtle, send them in and we will add them to our recipe page.

Unlike most common household cleaning methods, these instructions for cleaning a snapping turtle are not for the squeamish. Even professional New York cleaning services who are used to scouring and disinfecting dirty bathrooms may find some of the steps a bit overwhelming, unless they are used to hunting and cleaning animals.

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