TTerrapins Porth2HE RSPCA is appealing for information after three terrapins were found dumped in a bucket.

A member of the public found the yellow-bellied sliders in a wooded area in Trebanog, Porth on 25 October and contacted the RSPCA.

RSPCA animal collection officer Rachel Chapman said: “The caller found the terrapins in a bucket while walking a dog.

“The terrapins had a check over with a vet, and have been taken to a rescue centre.

“If anyone has any information about these terrapins please contact us.”

Following the release of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie, the RSPCA is bracing itself for an influx of terrapins.

Popular films have always escalated demands for unusual pets – when the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle film was released in the 1990s this led to a craze for buying terrapins.

Many ill-informed people snapped up the reptiles and when owners realised that the 50p-sized baby animals grow to the size of a dinner plate and have specialist dietary and accommodation needs some couldn’t cope and simply dumped their pets.

RSPCA animal centres and other rescues were inundated and terrapins were even spotted in public ponds around the country after large numbers were abandoned or given up.

Last year the RSPCA received 1,281 calls relating to the reptiles.

Senior scientific officer Nicola White said: “Sadly many owners who buy exotic pets on impulse after seeing a film or TV show don’t find out how to care for the animals first. When they then realise how much space and care the animal requires they can lose interest, or feel unable to care for them anymore. As a result exotic pets are often abandoned, given up to animal rescue centres or released into the wild.

“Many people bought turtles in the late 80s when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were popular, which led to a large number of unwanted terrapins being abandoned when they grew too large or were more difficult to look after than expected. We are bracing ourselves for a similar trend once again.

“Terrapins are complicated animals to care for and can also carry bacteria such as Salmonella. We would discourage anyone from buying any pet on a whim and strongly urge people to think carefully first before buying an exotic pet.”

“Releasing unwanted exotic pets into the wild is cruel and illegal. Most exotic pets are unlikely to be able to survive in the wild in Britain and non-native species could pose a serious threat to our native wildlife. It is illegal under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to release, or to allow to escape, any species that are not normally native to the UK.”

Anyone who may have information about this incident should contact the RSPCA inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018. Calls are 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). We are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.

 

Terrapin factfile

Tortoises, turtles and terrapins may seem like relatively easy pets to keep. But the reality is that many terrapins are abandoned in to lakes and ponds when they grow too big – they can grow to the size of a dinner plate. Tortoises can also become a burden to many owners who do not realise that these animals can live for about 100 years.

Two common pet species are the red-eared slider and European pond terrapin; their import into the EU was banned in 1997 due to concerns about the impact of released animals on the ecosystem.

Terrapins are semi-aquatic so need a pool to swim in and also areas of land for basking.

As with other reptiles, terrapins must have access UV light in order to stay healthy.

Terrapins are ectothermic (they use the external environment to control their body temperature) so their enclosure must provide a basking light and suitable temperature gradient to allow the animals to regulate their temperature.

Terrapins are omnivores, which means they eat plant and animal matter.

More information on caring for terrapins can be found on our website: www.rspca.org.uk/allaboutanimals/pets/other