Alligator snapping turtle found far from home in English pond, is promptly named Fluffy (2024)

A dogwalker spotted the turtle last week in a northwestern English pond called Urswick Tarn, about 5,000 miles from its native habitat in the South

Amaris EncinasUSA TODAY

An alligator snapping turtle that looks like something out of "Jurassic Park" has been found 5,000 miles away from its natural habitat in the U.S. South.

A dogwalker spotted the turtle last week in a northwestern English pond called Urswick Tarn, located in a village called Great Urswick. The dogwalker posted a picture of the ancient-looking creature to a local Facebook group, hoping someone might be able to identify it.

Other members of the group called on a local parish councillor who had raised tortoises and previously lived in Florida, Dominic Moule, a veterinarian surgeon at Wild Side Vets, told USA TODAY on Tuesday.

The councillor, Denise Chamberlain, told the BBC that she knew exactly what the creature was as soon as she saw it.

She decided to take the turtle out of the water, using three pairs of gloves and a shopping basket to scoop him up. This despite the fact that the creature has a bite force of 1,000 pounds, "which can easily snap through bone," according to the National Wildlife Federation.

“I was anxious on two levels," Chamberlain said. "One was actually catching it without losing a finger, but also, what was I going to do with it?”

Turtle gets a new strangely appropriate name

Since Chamberlain and some helpers were able to recover the turtle from the pond, it has been in the care of Wild Side Vets, a veterinary practice about 300 miles north of London.

Every sweet little thing deserves a sweet name, Moule reasoned, when the turtle was first brought in.

"It looks a little bit strange, unique even," he said. "I think it looks quite prehistoric, almost like a living dinosaur."

But Moule and a fellow colleague, who are both into“the sort of weird and the wonderful of the animal world,” thought the turtle was “fairly cute in a kind of strange way.” So, even though it looks a little scary, they named it Fluffy. The hope was to eliminate any fears people may have upon seeing the turtle.

“It's not doing any harm. It's not horrible," he said. "It's just a little turtle that is somewhere where it shouldn't be."

Fluffy is also the name of a vicious, three-headed dog depicted in "Harry Potter."

"As someone on Facebook said, it certainly looks like a creature Hagrid would love,” Chamberlain told The Guardian.

How did Fluffy get so far from home?

It's unclear how Fluffy how could have ended up so far from home, but Moule suspects that it was bred and raised in captivity before it was dumped in the pond.

“I suspect somebody has bought it and not realized what it is, it has got too big for them to look after or they cannot afford to feed it," Chamberlain told the BBC.

The alligator snapping turtle is not considered an invasive species in the U.K. because it hasn't had a chance to establish itself in the environment, Moule said.

But re-releasing the turtle into the wild isn't an option, either, since the alligator snapping turtle is not native to the area.

Though they are not considered an endangered species in the U.S., the number of alligator snapping turtles is declining due to"habitat degradationandoverharvestingfor their meat," according to the National Wildlife Fund.

Moule also found out that Fluffy may have only come up to the surface recently, burying itself in silt and mud during the winter months. Fluffy was actually “quite lethargic” when he was brought in because the temperature of the water the turtle was found in is not “ideal” for the turtle.

“It wasn't really moving much when it was brought into us, but it did have its mouth wide open," Moule said.

Fluffy maintained a “very defensive” stance when it first came in but adjusted to its new living environment without too many complications, regulating its metabolism slowly.

What will happen to Fluffy?

Wild Side Vets has found a new home for Fluffy, who will spend the rest of his days with a specialist wildlife company in the south of England. The company is set to pick up Fluffy on Wednesday.

“They will be rehabbing the turtle and continuing with treatment,” Moule said."It will probably live out the rest of its life with them because it can’t be released anywhere and it's not viable to fly it all the way back to America."

In light of the recent media storm Fluffy has inadvertently caused because of his unusual looks, Moule wants to take a moment to remind people that “exotic pets or unusual creatures require a lot of care and shouldn’t be dumped.”

“They should obviously be given the best chance that they can," he said. "All animals, regardless of what they look like, should receive good care and be able to live happy and healthy lives.”

Alligator snapping turtle found far from home in English pond, is promptly named Fluffy (2024)


Is a dinosaur like snapping turtle named fluffy found in the UK thousands of miles from native US home? ›

A "dinosaur-like" snapping turtle named Fluffy found in U.K. thousands of miles from native U.S. home. A member of the largest freshwater turtle species in the world with the power to bite through bone has been discovered in the United Kingdom – thousands of miles from its native home in the United States.

Was fluffy the alligator snapping turtle with nasty bite found in Cumbrian Tarn? ›

An alligator snapping turtle, with a jaw experts say can break through bone, was spotted living by a lake in Cumbria. The animal is native to swamplands of the southern US such as Florida, has a hard and rugged shell as well as a sharp and wide jaw.

Was Fluffy found in Cumbria? ›

A small alligator snapping turtle pulled from a lake in Cumbia has been nicknamed Fluffy. A dog walker found the exotic creature, which is native to swamps and rivers in southern parts of the US, in Urswick Tarn, near Ulverston, on Monday.

What is the real name of the alligator snapping turtle? ›

The alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii) is a large species of turtle in the family Chelydridae. The species is endemic to freshwater habitats in the United States. M. temminckii is one of the heaviest freshwater turtles in the world.

Is A snapping turtle a dinosaur? ›

One of the worlds oldest species! The Snapping turtle was found in the exact same form as it is today in the Cretaceous period, 50 Million years ago. It can be considered a living dinosaur.

Is this a snapping turtle? ›

Snapping turtles are easily recognized by their dark carapace (upper shell) with a deeply serrated back margin and a small plastron (bottom shell) that does not completely cover all of the animal's flesh. Three low keels (or ridges) on the carapace of younger turtles often become obscure as the turtle matures.

How big was the biggest alligator snapping turtle ever caught? ›

To date the largest known documented wild caught adult male from Texas weighed 211 pounds (95.7 kg). The largest female to date was captured in Tarrant County and weighed 70 pounds (31.7 kg).

Has anyone been bitten by a snapping turtle? ›

While technically possible, a bite from a Snapping Turtle in the water is so incredibly rare that it's not something we should be worried about; just leave the turtle alone and it will mind its own business.

Are alligator snapping turtles aggressive? ›

While these turtles are thought to be less aggressive than the common snapping turtle, the powerful bite of an alligator snapping turtle can be both painful and damaging to humans.

What made Fluffy famous? ›

Due to the series' international popularity, Luffy is one of the world's most recognizable manga and anime characters. In addition to the One Piece franchise, the character appears in a number of manga and anime series and collaborative video games. His critical reception is largely positive.

What happened to Fluffy after Book 1? ›

After Fluffy's duties were done, and the Stone was destroyed, Hagrid set Fluffy free in the Forbidden Forest. Shortly thereafter, however, Dumbledore decided to arrange for it to be sent back to his native Greece, as he preferred to keep some of Hagrid's more ill-advised acquisitions away from the school.

What creature was Fluffy? ›

Fluffy is an extremely large three-headed dog, apparently loyal to Hagrid or anyone who will play him some music. He is apparently modeled on Cerberus, the three-headed dog who guards the entrance to the Underworld in Greek mythology.

Who eats alligator snapping turtles? ›

Eggs and juveniles are consumed by fish, raccoons, and birds, but the only predator of fully grown adults is humans. Reproductive maturity is reached at 11 to 13 years.

What turtle lives the longest? ›

Longest-Lived Reptile: The Giant Tortoise (300 Years)

And these turtles have lifespans that perfectly match their 500- to 1,000-pound weights: giant tortoises in captivity have been known to live longer than 200 years, and there's every reason to believe that testudines in the wild regularly hit the 300-year mark.

Are alligator snapping turtles illegal? ›

The California Fish and Game Code prohibits the possession or sale of certain species of turtles, including all species of snapping turtles. This law is intended to protect native wildlife and prevent the introduction of non-native species that could compete with or prey on native species.

What big dinosaur was found in England? ›

The two most complete sauropod skeletons dug up in the UK belong to Cetiosaurus and Cetiosauriscus. These dinosaurs were ginormous. Scientists think that Cetiosaurus was probably the largest, but both were nearly as long as two double-decker buses.

What is the UK largest predatory dinosaur? ›

Several prehistoric bones belonging to the two-legged, crocodile-faced spinosaurid dinosaur were discovered on the island off the south coast of England by dinosaur hunter Nick Chase - who has since died. The remains of Europe's largest-ever land-based predator dinosaur have been found on the Isle of Wight.

What kind of turtle looks like a dinosaur? ›

The prehistoric-looking alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and among the largest in the world. With its spiked shell, beaklike jaws, and thick, scaled tail, this species is often referred to as the "dinosaur of the turtle world."

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