On a recent trip to Nantucket, a friendly employee at Cisco Brewers gave us a tip on a spot for finding snapping turtles—the first pond past the dump where there is a short dock. She promised that if we dangled “chicken feet” from a long string into the water, we would certainly lure in a snapping turtle for closer observation. Putting aside the fact that one of these creatures could easily take a finger off, this seemed like a decent idea for a kid-friendly activity. My 8-year-old son, Owen, quickly became obsessed with this plan and spent the better part of Memorial Day weekend asking when we would go to Madaket. He spoke of Madaket as if it were some far off, exotic location—almost like Sconset. He didn’t realize its main claim to fame was the stinky dump. When he wasn’t wearing us down with talk of the lovely snapping turtle paradise known as Madaket, he switched off to repeatedly requesting we rig up the seine net, something he has been begging us to do for about 3 years.
So finally, on our last day on Nantucket, we decided to take a drive out to the famed snapping turtle pond in Madaket. After first acquiring the chicken feet bait, we headed out on a Wild Kratt-inspired journey. Considering that Owen has taken to wearing a khaki photographer’s vest as part of his regular wardrobe, and his knack for spouting out little known facts about various wild animals, he seems destined for a career as host of a cable television program potentially titled The Reptile Fanatic.
I guess it was our lucky day, since when we arrived there was a man with a large, sturdy net pulling snapping turtles out of the water left and right. Owen was in turtle heaven and it turned out to be a highlight of the weekend. If you’re visiting Nantucket with your own little brood of Wild Kratt groupies, this is fantastic activity. Check out this video and see for yourself.