‘Dinosaur-like’ snapping alligator turtle mysteriously discovered in England

(NEW YORK) — A snapping alligator turtle — with a bite fierce enough to sever human bone — was mysteriously discovered an ocean away from its natural habitat.

Dr. Dominic Moule, a veterinary surgeon at Wild Side Vets in Cumbria, England, explained to ABC News on Monday how a snapping alligator turtle was discovered in Urswick Tarn, a pond in England, and delivered to his clinic last week.

The “dinosaur-like” reptiles are native to rivers and swamps in Florida and do not migrate, according to Moule, who notes the turtles can grow up to roughly 40 inches long and weigh up to 180 pounds when fully grown.

Snapping alligator turtles have a hard, armor-like shell and a sharp beak.

“They look quite prehistoric,” Moule noted. “It does almost look like a little dinosaur.”

Moule speculates the turtle — whose gender is currently unknown — was an exotic pet owned by someone in the area, who dumped it in the local pond.

“They’re not migratory, they’re freshwater,” Moule said of the alligator turtles. “So there’s no way the turtle got across the ocean, it would have certainly perished on the journey.”

“I personally think that the turtle was probably an exotic pet,” Moule said. “Somebody probably had him or her and didn’t realize the care that was required and it became a bit overwhelming. So they decided to release the turtle and they thought the local pond was the best place.”

The turtle was discovered in the pond by Denise Chamberlain, a local parish councillor, who used three pairs of thick builder’s gloves to safely rescue the seemingly dangerous turtle and transported it to Moule’s clinic in a shopping basket.

Moule and his colleagues at Wild Side Vets quickly became fond of the turtle, and decided to name him or her “Fluffy.”

“We actually think that this little guy is quite cute. It’s subjective, some people don’t think so,” Moule quipped. “But we thought it was, so we decided to give it a cute name.”

Moule and his colleagues have been working over the last week to care for Fluffy and consult with experts about the correct course of action to keep it healthy before it’s transferred to a specialist wildlife center in Cornwall.

“It’s been quite a strange experience,” Moule said of caring for Fluffy. “We’re helping out these animals that some people don’t see as pretty or attractive, and everything deserves a chance regardless of if it’s a little hamster, a dog or something like an alligator snapping turtle.”

Copyright © 2024, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.