An exotic turtle that looks like a dinosaur and has a nasty bite enough to cut through the bones of not just alligators but humans was rescued from a tarn in Cumbria in North West England. It was spotted bathing in the shallow waters of Urswick Tarn, a small lake near Ulverston when a local dog walker discovered it and asked others on Facebook to help him identify it, the Guardian reported. Although it has been colloquially named Fluffy, only a braveheart or a fool would attempt to come near the spiky creature only to get bitten by it.
An Urswick parish councillor Denise Chamberline, who had an experience of living in Florida and kept tortoises was alerted by the social media post and instantly recognized the carnivore.
She said that he had seen snapping turtles in the wild but on a much bigger scale. “Despite being a juvenile the snapping turtle can give someone a nasty nip,” she said. Denise also revealed that these turtles have a natural defence mechanism because of which they tend to open their mouth as soon as someone goes near them.
Denise made a few calls to organise a rescue mission after an initial mission to the lake to make sure she had identified the reptile correctly. After receiving no help, she decided to rescue the turtle herself despite lacking the experience of handling anything of this sort in the past.
She filled the plastic container with water from the turn, put on safety gloves and entered the muddy water herself. After spotting the turtle sitting in the shadows she came closer to it after which the creature opened its mouth to show her its string beak-like jaw. Denise recalled that although it looked angry, the cold helped her rescue it and it was not too difficult to manoeuvre into the shopping basket, The Guardian reported.
She later carried the rescued turtle to a vet in a shopping bag only to discover that the exotic creature was an alligator snapping turtle that could sever human fingers in a snap.
Creatures like fluffy are native to swamps and rivers in southern parts of the US including Florida and are recognized by their armor-like shells, which give them a dinosaur-like appearance.
Dr Dom Moule, a veterinary surgeon from Wild Side Vets in Barrow-in-Furness, said he was “really surprised” when Ms Chamberlain brought in the nasty biter. He assumed that the mysterious reptile would be a terrapin or a loggerhead turtle but had not even considered that it could rather turn out to be an alligator snapping turtle, he told Sky News.
The doctor also said that the turtle would have probably been dumped there in the tarn by an exotic pet owner who did not realise how difficult it would become to look after it.
Dr Kate Hornby, owner of the clinic said that the alligator snapping turtle will be relocated to a specialist reptile centre in Cornwall on Monday and will be put into warmer waters which will speed up its metabolism, The Guardian reported.
Chamberlain commented on the name Fluffy and said that it is very appropriate and is a reference to the creature in Harry Potter. She hailed the staff at Wild Side Vets as ‘heroes’ for dealing with the turtle and requested exotic pet owners to contact agencies such as RSPCA (largest animal welfare charity in the UK) if they are unable to care for their animals, Sky News reported.
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