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Turtle power! RSPCA takes in hundreds of terrapins a year

Animal welfare charity launches terrapin advice sheets to help new owners care for their half-shelled house guests

Hundreds of terrapins have been rescued by the RSPCA over the last year and now the animal welfare charity is urging owners to take more care.

Last year the animal welfare charity rescued 434 terrapins following complaints of neglect and situations where people could no longer cope with their exotic pet.

In a bid to help owners learn more about their shelled sidekicks the charity has launched a care sheet to help them understand the repercussions of taking on a turtle.

RSPCA Scientific Officer for exotics Alexandra Jones said: “Terrapins are the most common reptile that we are called to collect. We are urging people to think carefully about the pet they are taking on.

“Terrapins need a lot of care and attention – especially when it comes to the environment they are kept in.

“Unfortunately, the reality is that a lot of people do not realise the responsibility they take on when they buy them and then animal welfare organisations such as us have to pick up the pieces.

“One of the most commonly available terrapins is the slider terrapin. When they are very young they are around the size of a 50 pence piece – but this species can actually grow to the size of a dinner plate. Sadly, once they start getting bigger, some people feel they cannot cope any more and that is one scenario where they end up in RSPCA care.

“The new care page for terrapins can be found on the RSPCA website. We are hoping it will help people understand what a commitment the are taking on with one of these animals – and for how long too.”

She added: “There has been a rise in the number of exotic pets that come into our care and sometimes it is due to fads that follow films. We certainly had that with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle moves in the 1990s – we are just waiting to see if these latest films will have the same effect too. Only time will tell, but we hope that by trying to make sure people who are interested in keeping them as pets have the right information at their fingertips we can help to prevent suffering which may otherwise have occurred.”.

The new RSPCA care sheet for slider terrapins can be found here.

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).

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Editor at large, SalfordOnline.com