12/15/2012 01:20 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Oral Hygiene Habits of the Interesting: Animal Planet's Call of the Wildman Ernie the Turtleman


Q: Where do you live, Ernie?
A: Lebanon, Ky. About two hours from Lexington, Ky.

Q: Do you see a dentist regularly?
A: Yep, Dr. Poke -- he takes good care of me!

Q: Are you missing any teeth?
A: I only got seven left! I had three major accidents three years in a row, which is why I'm missing most of my teeth: July 6, 1993 (leap year), July 7, 1994, and July 7, 1995. July 7 is not a good date for me.

In 1993, while I was cutting up a tree, caught in some power lines with a buddy of mine, he swung around and whacked me in the mouth with a running chainsaw... almost killed me! Then, folks up in Danville Hospital fixed me up with 189 stitches.

In 1994, I was in a truck wreck. On the way back from my brother's place, there was a tractor in the road, so I pulled into the other lane to go around the tractor, and there was an oncoming car there! I swerved off the road and tried to jump the ditch by the side of the road. I learned you can't jump ditches! I slammed right into the ditch. I shattered almost all my remaining teeth and had to have screws in my top jaw plus a cow bone implant to reattach it to my skull.

In 1995, I was fixing a roof for an electric company when a tank inside the building exploded. Some of the shrapnel hit my lower teeth and knocked out all my bottom teeth.


Q: What is the worst animal to get bitten by?
A: Snapping turtle. They can bite your fingers or limbs off... like a vice grip! Their teeth cut in four different directions! One bit the palm of my hand back in 1981, and I had to have nine stitches in the middle of my hand. Once they bite down, it's hard to get them off. Raccoon bites hurt pretty bad, too.

Q: What is your favorite food?
A: Squirrel dumplings and blackberry cobbler.

Q: Your favorite drink?
A: Diet Coke. (I heard that goes well with Squirrel Ernie! Haha.)

Q: Any special shows coming up for you?
A: Yep! Call of the Wildman: Holler Day Cheer, world premiere Sunday, Dec. 16, at 9 p.m.