Well there are several options here. You could scream, dunk it underwater or - so says Mamaw -  just wait until it thunders. 

Whatever you do, Zoo Knoxville herpetologist Phil Colclough says there's a reason the snapping turtle is latched onto your finger. 

"You've probably done something really stupid to begin with," Colclough said. "Chances of getting bit while acting appropriately around them are slim to none." 

You'll be seeing more of snapping turtles into the summer months. These aquatic reptiles breathe air, but stay underwater all the time. That changes when females get ready to dig nests and lay eggs, venture all the while into human territory. 

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A closeup portrait of an american alligator snapping turtle, hiding in in muddy water.
Getty Images

"When you're dealing with venomous snakes or snapping turtles or things that people perceive as being more dangerous than they actually are," Colclough said, "there's a lot of persecution with those animals."

Colclough says turtles of all sizes are one of the most trafficked animals on the planet. They're kept as exotic pets or even chucked into stews. That's problematic because turtles serve a special role within the animal kingdom. 

"Think of them as the vultures of the reptile world," said Colclough. They're important to the eco-system. They're food for other animals, but while they're here they're cleaning up dead stuff."

And though Colclough cautions against moving them across the road, there are a number of ways to move an animal if it's really in peril. 

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You could use a broom or shovel to move the animal to the side of the road. While you should never pick them up by the tail, it is possible to pick them up. Just grip the sides of their top and bottom shell.

If one is dangling tenaciously to your person though, Colclough said you're likely just going to have to wait it out. 

One thing Colclough emphatically recommends against? Waiting for thunder.

"It's going to take some time," Colclough laughs. "It's going to be unpleasant for you. But again it's not like you'll be swimming across the lake and they'll snap your heel. They're non-aggressive."

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