West Sussex County Times

Snapping turtle in country park lake

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A rare snapping turtle normally found in North America - has made itself at home in the lake at Southwater Country Park.

And one eye witness has described it as being ‘as big as a dustbin lid.’

The common snapping turtle is thought to have been there for years but has only rarely been sighted.

But Horsham District Council, which owns the park, has confirmed the snapping turtle is living in the lake.

A spokeswoma­n said: “The council is aware that there is a snapping turtle in the lake at Southwater Country Park, the last actual sighting being a couple of years ago.

“There is plenty of foodstuff available in the lake for it to eat but it appears to be very shy, so there are not many opportunit­ies for visitors to see it. There are no known incidents of the turtle coming into contact with visitors or their dogs.”

The common snapping turtle - Chelydra serpentina - is noted for its combative nature when out of the water. It has powerful beak-like jaws and a highly mobile head and neck. It can live up to 100 years.

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