Wildlife alert over terrapin

PUBLISHED: 07:41 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 09:13 24 May 2010

A WILD reptile is on the loose in a North Somerset village and there are fears it could be killing off the wildlife. For more than five years there have been sightings of a feral terrapin on the moorland waters around Yatton. But now villagers have report

A WILD reptile is on the loose in a North Somerset village and there are fears it could be killing off the wildlife.For more than five years there have been sightings of a feral terrapin on the moorland waters around Yatton.But now villagers have reported to Yatton and Congresbury Wildlife Action Group that the turtle-like creature has grown to the size of a football and there are worries it could be dangerous.Normally, the creature inhabits the big pond at the end of Chescombe Road but last week it was spotted wandering the Strawberry Line.The action group has noticed a decline in moorhens in the pond and believe it may be down to the terrapin's carnivorous eating habits.Group member Faith Moulin said: "Someone found it out of the water wandering about on the Strawberry Line but by the time anyone could go and catch it, it had disappeared."They are voracious predators and bad news for wildlife. This individual could, for example, be eating our rare toads."It could possibly be eating the moorhen chicks too, as moorhens have also declined in this pond."Someone has obviously let the creature go a few years ago and it has since grown."I think an increase in terrapin ownership was down to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze quite a few years ago."I have also heard the zoos would not accept them because they were inundated with people tying to get rid of them.

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