We were called to collect a rather unusual character from a home in Suffolk – a common snapping turtle.
The turtle was spotted sloping across a front garden by Margaret Finch of Grundisburgh, Woodbridge, on the afternoon of Sunday, 8 July.
At first Margaret believed the animal to be a tortoise, however on closer examination by her husband Stephen it was clear this was not a lost tortoise.
This certainly did not look like an ordinary tortoise and looked almost prehistoric, so I went over to investigate and it was huge with long claws and a beak-like jaw and not very friendly at all!
Snapping turtles need careful handling
Despite the snapping turtle’s demeanour Stephen managed to catch it by grabbing it from behind and placing it in a tin bath with water in the wood shed ready for us to collect.
“I knew it had to be put somewhere as it was very aggressive and I was worried what it might do if it was on the loose.
"It is certainly not something you would expect to find on a Sunday afternoon.
"I am just grateful for the RSPCA coming to collect it, as who else would have taken it if not?”
The common snapping turtle is a predator, preying on other animals including fish, birds and amphibians, but also eats aquatic vegetation.
These animals can cause significant injuries if they are handled by an inexperienced person as it has a powerful beak-like jaw and a highly mobile head and neck.
Appeal for information
The turtle was collected by RSPCA Inspector Jason Finch, who said:
This snapping turtle had a go at me a few times when I tried to remove it and they really can do a lot of damage if they snap at you.
We think he has probably been owned at some point and has either escaped or irresponsibly been released in to the wild. He may have been living in the nearby water meadows, but could have got flushed out of there by the recent heavy rainfall.
It is dangerous and will now be cared for by an expert who is used to dealing with them.
Can you help?
It is completely irresponsible and illegal to dump the turtle into the British wildlife as it is a non-indigenous species.
Anyone with information regarding the turtle is asked to call the RSPCA inspector appeal line on 0300 123 8018.
If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).
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