Instructables

How to clean a turtle

Step 2: Pre-cleaning preparations

First of all, you remove the turtle's head in this step.

With a snapper, you can usually get them to bite onto that stick you should have, then they'll hold on pretty hardcore. Pull the neck out as far as possible, and then, cut the head off, leaving as much neck as possible. If it won't snap onto the stick, then just wait for it to poke it's head out enough.

The key is to cut off the head cleanly, in one chop. A hand-axe would help greatly, especially if you positioned the turtle's neck over a board. Minimize the animal's suffering. One thing my dad always taught me when we were fishing, was that you never mock your catch, and if you're going to kill it, you should do it as painlessly as possible for the animal. Do turtles feel pain? I don't know. But it'll be better for you (less gore, less mess) and the turtle (suddenly over, no bleeding in the face or whatever).

Now, take the pliers, and hold the wire with them. Poke the pointed end that you clipped into the wire through the turtle's tail, or (if a soft-shell), it's shell at the very tail-end. Wrap the other end around a tree branch, and leave it for a while, so it will bleed out. Small turtles= less bleeding, I would assume. So, no set time. I bled mine until the blood stopped dripping and started clotting on the neck.
 
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dfernstrom3 years ago
Yes, turtles certainly do feel pain--all vertebrate animals do (and so do a select few invertebrates, such a squid, to a more limited degree). I recommend that you not only remove the animal's head, but also go to the trouble of destroying the brain (either before or immediately afterward). There is some evidence to suggest that, due to their extremely low oxygen requirements, a reptile's brain can remain active and alive for some time after the head is removed from the body. You should also destroy the brains of fish before you clean them, for the same reason. Just because an animal relies on its environment to regulate its body temperature does not mean its senses or ability to feel are impaired.

Reptiles, amphibians, cephalopods, and fish also experience very simple emotions. How do we know this? We're at a level of understanding where we can control computers with our brainwaves--determining whether an animal has the right brain parts to enable it to feel or emote is much simpler.

So, for the sake of being humane, treat your fish, frogs, and turtles the same way you would a squirrel or rabbit. Do not go out of your way to frighten, distress, or cause pain to them. Besides, stress chemicals may make the meat less tasty.