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Swollen turtle found abandoned



We’re appealing for information after a turtle with a severely swollen body was found abandoned in a Stoke-on-Trent park

The musk turtle was found in Hartshill Park on Wednesday 30 August. The member of the public who found the turtle contacted us, and we transferred the turtle to an exotics vet.

Examination by the vet has shown that the turtle is suffering from lymphoedema, thought to be a result of being fed a poor diet. The turtle is being cared for by the vet and is responding well so far to treatment.

Appeal for information

Inspector Charlotte Melvin said:

The poor turtle was found in a tank, and it’s clear that whoever left them there did so with the intention of abandoning them.

The turtle looks in a terrible state as a result of their body becoming swollen. It’s likely that they’ve been suffering for some time as their owner failed to seek veterinary treatment for their condition.

Anyone who has any information about who abandoned the turtle should contact the our appeals line on 0300 123 8018.

Not as tough as they look

Nicola White, our exotics senior scientific officer, said:

Reptiles may look resilient and tough on the outside but they are completely reliant on their owners to provide heat, light, humidity, food and water. They can easily become poorly or suffer if these aren't provided at the correct levels for their species.

This is another example of why we’re extremely concerned about the number of abandoned reptiles the RSPCA are being called about. Last year we rescued 1,700 reptiles, many as a result of being abandoned.

It can be tricky for a beginner owner to know exactly what to feed their reptile and to tell when their reptile is unwell, so we’d always recommend that owners ask for help and advice from experienced keepers, and take their reptile to an exotics vet at the first signs of illness.

Keeping feeding records can help you tell if your reptile isn’t feeling well, as they may be eating less than usual. And these records will help your vet to advise you on whether the diet you’re feeding is appropriate.

Reptiles require research

Nicola added:

Sadly many owners who buy exotic pets on impulse don’t find out how to care for the animals first. They’re often handed over to buyers in pet shops with little or no information about how to care for them, or the commitment that is involved in keeping them healthy.

When owners then realise how much space and care the animal requires they can lose interest, or feel overwhelmed and unable to care for them anymore. As a result reptiles are often abandoned, given up to animal rescue centres or even released into the countryside.

It’s for this reason that we’re urging potential owners to research and look into what’s required in the care of their pet before taking one on, so they know what’s involved and how long it’s likely to be for.

There are books full of information on how to care for all sorts of species and specialist vets and keeping groups are a source of support and advice.

Our website has further information for anyone interested in how to care for exotic animal.

Want to help?

To help us continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please donate online through our website, or text LOVE to 87023 to give £3 (Text costs £3 + one standard network rate message).

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