Saturday, 10 August 2013

Terrapins that can bite off a child's finger are being dumped in the Lake District by owners who don't realise how big they grow

  • Creatures can bite legs off ducks - there are fears they'll move onto other
  • Experts believe they could be a threat to youngsters and other wildlife
  • They're being dumped by owners as they grow too large and costly to keep
The humble turtle is known to many as a cute family pet munching its way through greens as it slowly ambles through the day. 

But parents in the Lake District have been warned to look after their children after turtles and terrapins capable of 'biting the fingers off' of young children were dumped in a river. 

The snapping creatures can bite the legs off ducks and there are fears the animals, which ‘will eat anything that moves,’ could be a threat to youngsters and other wildlife.

Terry Bowes, director of Wetheriggs Zoo and Animal Sanctuary Centre in Cumbria, said the reptiles are being dumped by owners after they grow to a large size and become costly to keep.

He said: ‘The problem is both the number being dumped, as well as the way they devastate the wildlife. They are carnivores. They will eat anything that moves.

‘If you have kids paddling in a river the turtles could easily snap off a toe or a finger. They can become quite aggressive when they have grown.

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