An uncommon discovery of an invasive alligator snapping turtle in a Cumbrian tarn has sparked intrigue and concern amongst locals. The exotic creature, typically native to swamps and rivers in southern US regions, was found by a vigilant dog walker at Urswick Tarn near Ulverston. Parish councillor Denise Chamberlain, with prior experience from Florida, swiftly responded by safely retrieving the turtle using a shopping basket and then taking it to Wild Side Vets in Barrow-in-Furness.
After the peculiar finding, named Fluffy by rescuers, Dr. Dominic Moule from Wild Side Vets highlighted the potential dangers of the turtle. With its capacity for a formidable bite and ravenous appetite, the turtle could have wreaked havoc in the local environment if left unchecked. Ms. Chamberlain, recognizing the species from her time in Florida, remarked on the possible reasons for the turtle’s presence, speculating that it may have outgrown its owner’s capacity or resources.
While not illegal to own, alligator snapping turtles are complex creatures requiring specialized care, making them unsuitable as pets. Ms. Chamberlain’s bravery in capturing Fluffy was commended, as she navigated the risks of handling the snapping turtle and successfully transferring it to safety. The collective effort from residents in the retrieval process exemplified community spirit and concern for environmental welfare.
Dr. Moule emphasized the environmental threat posed by the invasive species if left unattended, underscoring the importance of responsible ownership practices. With plans to rehome the turtle in a more suitable environment, the veterinary center is ensuring Fluffy’s well-being and preventing potential ecological disruptions in the area.
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