Animal Planet’s ‘Turtleman’ Poses Peril for Turtles

"Turtleman" Ernie Brown (Photo: Animal Planet)

Now you can add turtles to the list of critters being hunted by Man on TV – a list that already includes feral hogs, alligators and bottom-dwelling fish.

Turtles come to the list courtesy of TV’s newest entry in the “man vs. critters” category – a new series titled “Call of the Wildman,” due to premiere this coming Sunday (Nov. 6) at 10/9c on Animal Planet.

Who’s the Wildman? He’s Kentuckian Ernie Brown Jr. – nicknamed “Turtleman” for his apparent prowess at snatching turtles from the bottoms of muddy waterways with his bare hands. He’s the first TV personality with “Turtle” as a nickname since “Entourage” left the air in September.

According to Animal Planet, Turtleman perfected his practice over a 30-year career in pursuit of turtles and other varmints presenting a nuisance to humans – including raccoons, skunks, venomous snakes, spiders and possums.

“Call of the Wildman” and its new star (thank heaven they didn’t nickname him “the Turtle Whisperer”!) represent another example of the lengths TV networks and producers will go in search of potential reality TV stars with unusual lifestyles.

Basically, they’re willing to go far off the beaten path and way out in the country in search of people living in swamps (“Swamp Brothers” and “Swamp Loggers” on Discovery, “Swamp Wars” on Animal Planet, “Swamp People” on History), people who bottom-fish with their barehands (“Hillbilly Handfishin’ ” and “River Monsters” on Animal Planet, “Monster Fish” on Nat Geo), and hog hunters (“American Hoggers” on A&E, “Hogs Gone Wild” on Discovery).

The shows all present intriguing locations, characters and stories for us city folk, while posing new dangers for our poor, beleaguered wildlife.

Get to know “Turtleman” Ernie Brown: Watch his appearance Tuesday with Jay Leno here (at 29:09):

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The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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