June 22, 2016 – The UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) is caring for an increasing number of terrapins following complaints of neglect and situations where people could no longer cope with their exotic pet, with 434 rescued in the last year.

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.

“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,” said RSPCA scientific officer for exotics Alexandra Jones said.

“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,” she added.

“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 at rspca.org.uk/terrapin. 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.”

“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.”

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