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 Terrapins that can bite off a child's finger are being dumped ...

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Join date : 1970-01-01

PostSubject: Terrapins that can bite off a child's finger are being dumped ...   Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:47 am

in the Lake District by owners who don't realise how big they grow

Creatures can bite legs off ducks
Experts believe they could be a threat to youngsters and other wildlife
They're being dumped by owners as they grow too large and costly to keep


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The humble turtle is known to many as a cute family pet munching its way through greens as it slowly ambles through the day.
But parents in the Lake District have been warned to look after their children after turtles and terrapins capable of 'biting the fingers off' of young children were dumped in a river.

The snapping creatures can bite the legs off ducks and there are fears the animals, which ‘will eat anything that moves,’ could be a threat to youngsters and other wildlife.


Terry Bowes, director of Wetheriggs Zoo and Animal Sanctuary Centre in Cumbria, said the reptiles are being dumped by owners after they grow to a large size and become costly to keep.

He said: ‘The problem is both the number being dumped, as well as the way they devastate the wildlife. They are carnivores. They will eat anything that moves.

‘If you have kids paddling in a river the turtles could easily snap off a toe or a finger. They can become quite aggressive when they have grown.
‘There are lots of different species of turtles and some are more aggressive than others. The snapping turtles are the worst and they can attack small animals as well as young children.’

Mr Bowes said the problem is at its worst in seven years and it is set to escalate with the release of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film in 2014.

He claims the ninja turtles craze, which rose to popularity in the 1980s and 1990s, started the problem as children wanted to own turtles.

‘Parents didn’t realise the size they can grow to, or that they can live up to 20 years,’ he said.

He added: ‘People are not being told they grow to huge animals. People buy them as cute little baby turtles and are not told the consequences that they will grow big and aggressive.


‘It’s a problem that has become exacerbated over the years.’
Mr Bowes said they have two snapping turtles at the centre, one rescued from the river Eamont and another brought to them from an animal welfare organisation, which could pose a risk to children.
He said: ‘We have two snapping turtles as well as the terrapins, they could very easily take the finger off a small child.
‘The centre has been inundated with abandoned terrapins in the last year, as owners don’t realise they naturally become aggressive and outgrow domestic tanks, making them expensive to keep.’
In the last week the centre has recovered 14 terrapins from the rivers Eden and Eamont, and staff are often asked to take in dumped terrapins from other wildlife organisations.

He said: ‘We’ve had to rescue 100 terrapins in the last year, and we’ve got some that have grown to the size of a dinner plate.’

Mr Bowes said three terrapins rescued recently had been biting the legs off ducks after being dumped in a lake next to the M6.

He said he was concerned about other animals being attacked by the abandoned pets and he feared the problem would get worse.

He added: ‘Over the last two to three years sadly the problem has got worse. People don’t realise they can become quite dirty and need a large tank to be kept in.

‘Anyone thinking of buying terrapins needs to do their research and realise what they are buying and how much it will eventually cost to keep them, as they are going to grow to a large size.

‘With this new film coming out I don’t think we have seen the end of it all.’




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Join date : 1970-01-01

PostSubject: Re: Terrapins that can bite off a child's finger are being dumped ...   Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:48 am

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The snapping creatures can bite the legs off ducks and there are fears the animals, which 'will eat anything that moves,' could be a threat to youngsters and other wildlife

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sue caldwell

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Location : cheshire
Join date : 2012-09-05
Posts : 1966
Age : 53

PostSubject: Re: Terrapins that can bite off a child's finger are being dumped ...   Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:24 pm

scary but like any animal to be kept people should do their research
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