Large angry snapping turtle with strong bite found near Asda store in river

A man and his children who were walking along the River Trent in Staffordshire have rescued a large snapping turtle.

The reptile, which is over 50cm long, was discovered next to the Asda store in Burton.

Fearing the creature, which has been named Hagar, would be a danger to people and other animals, the man picked it up and took it home before calling the RSPCA, DerbyshireLive reports.

The charity says it thinks the turtle, which is native to North America, may have been a pet that escaped or was abandoned in the river.

Snapping turtles, which weigh around 4kg, eat fish, birds, and amphibians, as well as aquatic vegetation.

RSPCA animal rescue officer Karen Brannan was sent to collect the angry reptile, which had been placed in a bathtub awaiting her arrival.

The turtle has since been transferred to his new home at the National Turtle Sanctuary at the Lincolnshire Wildlife Park.

Karen said she thinks Hagar could have been living in the river and surviving by eating fish for quite a while.

She said: "I had to handle him very carefully as he was very angry and obviously this species has quite a bite as well as a very mobile head and neck.

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"He had a fair bit of algae on his shell so I suspect he had been living in this area for quite some time and would have fed on fish and small mammals.

"We fear this turtle may either have escaped – or potentially been abandoned. It is a real concern if someone has discarded a pet like rubbish when there are animal welfare charities and organisations which would offer help.

"An animal like this could have been a real danger to other animals and people as they are capable of such a strong bite."

Karen added that she was thankful they had been able to find a home for him.

"I am just so grateful to the turtle sanctuary for taking on Hagar as an animal like that is not easy to find a suitable home for," she said.

"They believe he's approximately 12 years old, but they are capable of living to around 100 years – so I expect he has a long and happy life to now look forward to!"

Andy Ferguson, zoo manager at the sanctuary who as an expert is able to hold Hagar safely, said: "Hagar is settling in well to life in a seven-metre pool. He is definitely one of our more angry turtles – it is just his personality.

"This type of turtle is capable of a formidable bite and they are known as ambush predators so will hide before attacking for food.

"Unfortunately, we have come across cases like this before where they have been found in rivers. They are not ideal pets and have very specific needs."

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