Tuesday 22 April 2014

RSPCA Cymru is appealing for information following the abandonments of a turtle and three terrapins in two separate incidents in south-east Wales.

The turtle was found in a lake at Garn Lakes nature reserve in Blaenavon on Wednesday 9 April 2014 by a member of the public who was concerned for its welfare as it appeared to be weak and lethargic.

The football-sized reptile was later identified as an African sideneck turtle and was distinctive as its back webbed feet were missing on both sides. Despite this the turtle had no sign of wounds or scars so it is believed the missing limbs were caused by a deformity.

In a separate incident, on Thursday 10 April, three terrapins were found dumped in a toy box outside “Sofa Sofa” in Crumlin. The large terrapins later identified as sliders, were all in reasonable condition although one had very overgrown nails.

All of the animals were taken to a local wildlife centre for assessment and later to the International Tortoise Association sanctuary in the Vale of Glamorgan where they are currently being cared for by specialists.

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African sideneck turtle and was distinctive as its back webbed feet were missing on both sides

RSPCA animal collection officer, Sarah Davies said: “People might get terrapins as cute little pets when they are the size of a 50p piece, then get a shock when they grow much bigger a couple of years later like these ones who are now the size of dinner plates! They end up needing bigger and better tanks, pumps and other equipment.

“Like terrapins, turtles have very specific needs and before keeping a non-domestic or exotic animal as a pet, even for a short period of time, you  should find out what the animal needs and think carefully about how you are going to meet these needs under the Animal Welfare Act.

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The large terrapins were later identified as sliders

“The needs are just the same as they would be in the wild and often are based on a specialist environment, diet or a particular behaviour.

“There is never any excuse for abandoning an animal. If you really feel that you can no longer look after a pet, you can seek advice from an animal welfare organisation.”

Anyone with possible information about either the turtle or the terrapins is urged to contact the RSPCA inspector’s information line on 0300 123 8018. Calls will be treated in confidence.

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).