105. The Monster of Greenwich
Whilst filming for a documentary called London’s Scariest Mysteries a couple of years ago, an RSPCA inspector stated that, “…400 exotic pets each year are picked up as unwanted or dumped pets. 50% of these are snakes, and other large reptiles.”
This shocking statistic was backed up when an unseen creature was blamed for completely destroying the eco-system of Greenwich Park Pond. Fish, newts, frogs and even ducklings were devoured in the wake of a ferocious predator which turned out to be an American Snapping Turtle, an aggressive beast which, as the inspector commented, “is a bad tempered animal that no-one should want to keep as a pet.”
The creature was finally caught and sent off to an animal rescue centre in Kent. Once there, it shared company with a three-foot long iguana, a slithering reptile which was found wandering up Brixton High Street! These creatures may seem cute as twelve-inch long babies, but can reach up to five-feet in length.
And there’s also the tale of the man who went into a London pub for a pint and emerged with a ‘small lizard’ which he purchased for a small amount as a nice little pet. When he got home and looked on the internet, the man was startled to find he’d purchased a Caiman crocodile!
Sceptics often argue that such animals cannot roam the countryside, and yet when we see how easy it is to obtain such beasts, it’s no wonder that village ponds and even high streets, are under threat by all creatures great and small.
Photo by brian.gratwicke on flickr