An alligator snapping turtle recently discovered in Cumbria, UK has become a popular sensation online, but local vets are warning people not to attempt to keep one as a pet. The turtle, affectionately named Fluffy, was rescued from Urswick Tarn near Ulverston by a councillor who used a shopping basket to retrieve the animal. It is believed that Fluffy was previously kept as a pet and was likely abandoned due to the high demands of its care. The creature, which is native to North America, is notoriously difficult to keep and can grow up to 80kg.

Fluffy was taken to Barrow’s Wild Side Vets, where staff are urging people to conduct thorough research before adopting an unfamiliar pet. The turtle is currently acclimating to its new environment and is not eating due to its body being in hibernation mode due to the colder UK climate. Dr Kate Hornby of Wild Side Vets stated that Fluffy will be placed in warmer waters to speed up its metabolism and recover its appetite. The turtle is set to be transferred to a specialist reptile center for further care.

Denise Chamberlain, a local councillor who rescued Fluffy from the tarn, wore three pairs of builders gloves while retrieving the animal fearing that it would bite her. Dr. Dominic Moul confirmed that the alligator snapping turtle is capable of causing a “nasty bite” and can chew through anything if it is not rescued. Dr. Hornby stated that reptiles are not often cared for appropriately and are often taken to the clinic due to neglect or incorrect care.

It is important to research the particular species you are interested in keeping and to ensure that you have the appropriate knowledge and housing requirements before rescuing or adopting an animal. If circumstances change and owners are unable to properly care for their pets, they are urged to reach out to their local vets for assistance. It is hoped that Fluffy’s story will serve as a reminder about the important responsibility of keeping exotic pets.

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