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Rare ‘dinosaur-like’ snapping alligator turtle discovered in England

A “dinosaur-like” snapping alligator turtle has been discovered in Urswick Tarn, a pond in Cumbria, England, captivating the attention of wildlife enthusiasts and experts alike. The surprising revelation was made by Dr. Dominic Moule, a veterinary surgeon at Wild Side Vets, who provided insights into the mysterious appearance of this remarkable reptile.

Typically native to rivers and swamps in Florida, alligator snapping turtles are recognized for their imposing size, with the capability of reaching up to 40 inches in length and weighing an astonishing 180 pounds when fully grown. Known for their powerful bite, these creatures possess a hard, armor-like shell and a sharp beak that imparts a prehistoric allure, leading Dr. Moule to describe them as ‘dinosaur-like.’

Dr. Moule suspects that the turtle, affectionately named “Fluffy” by the Wild Side Vets team, was likely an exotic pet owned by someone in the local area. The veterinary surgeon ruled out the possibility of natural migration, emphasizing the freshwater habitat of the alligator snapping turtles and their inability to survive an overseas journey.

“I personally think that the turtle was probably an exotic pet. Somebody probably had him or her and didn’t realize the care that was required, and it became a bit overwhelming. So they decided to release the turtle, and they thought the local pond was the best place,” remarked by Dr. Moule.

The discovery was made by Denise Chamberlain, a local parish councilor, who, equipped with three pairs of thick builder’s gloves, rescued the seemingly dangerous turtle from the pond and transported it to Dr. Moule’s clinic in a shopping basket.

Despite the potential threat the snapping turtle poses, Dr. Moule and his colleagues at Wild Side Vets have developed an affection for Fluffy. The veterinary team has diligently cared for the creature over the past week, consulting with experts to determine the best action before transferring it to a specialist wildlife center in Cornwall.

Dr. Moule reflected on the experience, “It’s been quite a strange experience. We’re helping out these animals that some people don’t see as pretty or attractive, and everything deserves a chance regardless of if it’s a little hamster, a dog, or something like an alligator snapping turtle.”

Fluffy’s rescue and upcoming relocation to a specialist wildlife center in Cornwall mark a unique chapter in England’s wildlife conservation efforts, showcasing the unexpected appearance of a creature more commonly associated with the swamps of the Southern United States.


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