‘Dangerous’ turtle can bite bones found in Cumbria | UK News

‘Dangerous’ turtle can bite bones found in Cumbria |  UK News

Alligator tortoises have been known to cut off human fingers, but this one was rescued by a council member and put in a shopping basket.

Saturday 10 February 2024 at 15:53, United Kingdom

A ‘dangerous’ tortoise with a jaw strong enough to bite through bone has been found in Cumbria, and the vets looking after it have given it an unexpected name.

Alligator tortoises are native to the rivers and swamps of Florida, and are recognizable thanks to their armour-like shells, which give them a prehistoric dinosaur-like appearance.

After several sightings, the freshwater crocodile was recovered from the side of Orswick Tarn by local parish councilor Denis Chamberlain, who put the animal in a shopping basket and took it to a vet.

Dr Dom Mole told Sky News he was “really surprised” when Chamberlain brought the turtle.

The mysterious reptile was thought to be a loggerhead turtle or terrapin. “I never expected it to be an alligator turtle,” he said.

Dr Moll added that they may have been disposed of by a curious pet owner who did not realize how difficult it was to care for them.

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Alligator tortoises are usually found in Florida swamps. Pic: Wild Vets

Veterinary staff currently can’t tell the turtle’s sex because it’s relatively small, but that hasn’t stopped them from naming it.

“We called them Fluffy colloquially,” Dr. Molly said. “In a weird way, he looks really cute, so we decided to give him a cute name.”

Although there was no shortage of people offering to take Fluffy in, it was decided to move the reptile to a specialist wildlife center in Cornwall.

Ms Chamberlain urged any exotic pet owners who feel unable to care for their animals to contact agencies such as the RSPCA and praised staff at Wild Side Vets in Barrow as “heroes” for handling the tortoise.

Turtles are known to cut off human fingers. Pic: Wild Vets

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Alligator tortoises are an invasive species that can easily bite through bones, and have been known to cut off human fingers, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.

Tortoises are hunters who typically feed on fish, frogs, small mammals, and even other turtles. They can reach 100 cm in length and weigh up to 90 kg.

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