Пн. Апр 22nd, 2024

Locals in Cumbria, England were shocked to learn a spiky, dinosaur-like creature was found bathing in a small body of water near their homes.

Named Fluffy by its rescuers, the hard-shelled animal – that’s neither fluffy nor cuddly – is from across the pond and has a “nasty bite” that can sever a finger with one snap.

Keep reading to learn why this prehistoric creature poses a huge threat to the little lake in Cumbria, England.

Last week, a dog and his owner were strolling the shores of Urswick Tarns – a limestone-rich area known for an abundance of flora and fauna – when they came across a dinosaur-like creature, with spiky armor covering its back.

Not knowing what it was, the person snapped a photo of the peculiar animal and shared it on Facebook, hoping to find some answers.

The post captured the attention of Denise Chamberlain, an Urswick parish councillor, who previously worked in Florida and recognized the carnivorous creature that can give someone a “nasty nip.”

Speaking with PA Media (through the Guardian) Chamberlain said, “I looked at it and immediately thought, ‘oh goodness, I know what you are.’” Identifying the animal as a juvenile alligator snapping turtle, she added, “These turtles have a natural defence mechanism: when you go near them, they open their mouth.”

Chamberlain then went on a rescue mission to safely fish out the turtle, likely abandoned by an owner no longer wanting to care for the fierce creature whose powerful jaws can easily snap through bone

The dinosaur-like turtles, typically found in swamps and rivers across the southern U.S. and in Central and South America, can grow up to 200 lbs and live more than 100 years.

“These species are invasive, they’re non-native and I knew it was going to upset the ecology of the tarn, which is very finely balanced,” she said of the turtle, who has no natural predators and would clean the tarn of its wildlife. “That type of creature, while it’s not going to breed, could do some real damage to the fish stocks and eat all sorts of local wildlife.”

The rescue

Never having handled this type of animal before, Chamberlain proceeded with extreme caution. Armed with safety gloves to protect her fingers and a shopping basket to carry him to a new home, she entered the murky waters.

She said the angry-looking turtle “just sat in the shadows,” his beak resting above the waterline. “It was lurking around the top so it could catch the rays of the sun but [the turtle] stays underwater and breathes.” She added, “It looked like a prehistoric little dinosaur.”

Because the water and the turtle were cold, it was easy to capture, but not before warning her captor by opening her powerful jaws.

“Fortunately, because it was quite cold and the turtle itself was quite cold, it wasn’t too difficult to manoeuvre into the shopping basket,” Chamberlain adds.

‘Please don’t abandon’ pets

Following a raw chicken feast, Chamberlain then took the turtle to Wild Side Vets in Barrow-in-Furness.

“It’s certainly the first one we’ve seen at the clinic – they are kept in the UK but they’re certainly not a common thing you would see at the vets,” said Dr Kate Hornby, the owner of the clinic and a veterinarian. “It would certainly give you a nasty nip and it could probably do significant damage to a finger or finger end, but at this size, it’s not particularly dangerous.”

Wild Side Vets urges people to be more considerate when getting a pet.

“We believe he had been abandoned at the tarn. If you are struggling to keep your reptile, please feel free to talk to us in confidence, no judgement and we will do our very best to help.” The post, which also includes photos of the turtle who’s believed to be about five or six years old, continues, “Please don’t abandon or keep any reptile in suboptimal conditions. We can help.”

Fluffy

Speaking with PA Media, the vet says, “We haven’t been able to identify whether it’s male or female due to its size – but we’re calling it Fluffy for now.”

Chamberlain adds, “I think the name Fluffy is very appropriate – it’s a reference to the creature in Harry Potter. And as someone on Facebook said, it certainly looks like a creature Hagrid would love.”

Meanwhile, locals are giving the turtle and his rescuers a lot of love on social media.

“Fluffy, got to love that name for such [an] unusual creature but beautiful to see and so glad he/she was brought to you to be taken care of,” writes one netizen.

A second shares, “Ahh bless him – so glad he turned up at the right place to find the right people to help him x.” and a third adds, “Wow, what an awesome looking thing, I mean, I wouldn’t want to cuddle him but still, he’s amazing.”

This week, the shelled creature will be relocated to a wildlife center in Cornwall, where he (or she) can live in more suitable conditions.

We are also very happy “he turned up at the right place to find the right people.” Please be very careful when you’re getting a pet and do your due diligence, remembering they won’t stay small forever.

What do you think of Fluffy? Please share this story and let’s see what others have to say about this incredible creature!