Big cats in Bexley, crocs in the Lea, monkeys (sort of) in Downing Street and now…killer terrapins in Mill Hill. London’s fauna is certainly becoming more exotic. The latest addition to our urban menagerie is a vicious band of half-shelled reptiles with a penchant for fresh duckling. Hundreds of feral red-eared terrapins are apparently on the prowl throughout London. Sheepwash Pond in Mill Hill has a particular problem, where the terrapins’ habit of brutally tearing apart young ducklings has upset the local children.
The herptile hordes are native to parts of America, but have managed to sneak into the country illegally without so much as a Daily Mail campaign. According to the BBC:
“Their popularity was fuelled by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon craze of the early 1990s, but as they grew, many owners released them into the wild.”
Oh dear. Thank goodness Shark’s Tale was a comparative flop.
Meanwhile, further news on the crocodile/caiman/otter/mitten crab that’s patrolling the murky waters of the River Lea. Experts are now saying that the culprit is an ‘alligator snapping turtle’. It's another interloping species, brought into the country as a pet and then discarded when the witless owner realises it’s grown to over 2 metres long. Zoologists are now scouring the taxonomically enhanced river in a bid to locate and identify this unusual asylum seeker. We’re holding hopes that it’ll turn out to be one of these fellows.
On a slightly related topic, did you know that there is a type of monkey that eats sharks?