Pets' Corner: Who can I donate my terrapins to?
Cahal Milmo is the chief reporter of The Independent and has been with the paper since 2000. He was born in London and previously worked at the Press Association news agency. He has reported on assignment at home and abroad, including Rwanda, Sudan and Burkina Faso, the phone hacking scandal and the London Olympics. In his spare time he is a keen runner and cyclist, and keeps an allotment.
Saturday 23 August 2008
I will be emigrating to Dubai soon and I have four terrapins in a large tank and a tropical crab in another. As we are not taking them with us, I was wondering if I could donate them to any farm or zoo. Would they take our pets off our hands? Sharmaine, Staffordshire
How heartbreaking to realise that you will not be able to take your pets with you! Many people have to face the prospect of emigrating to a new country and leaving their companions behind. The problem, especially with your terrapins, is that as these pets are not for novice owners it makes it difficult to re-home them. There has been a huge surge in the number of terrapins purchased in recent years. Very cute, and about the size of a 50 pence piece to start off with, these aquatic creatures soon grow to the size of a dinner plate and can live for around 30 years, which prompts many owners to release them into our waterways and ponds, destroying the natural habitat in the process. Most people view them as pests.
Zoos will rarely take them, unless they are actually advertising for a particular animal. You could ring around your local farms, but nearly all that I spoke to were overrun with terrapins. Luckily, we've found a wonderful home for your watery friends and I'd like to thank Denise, at the Reptile Rescue Den, for all her help in this matter. They have a wonderful website with lots of useful tips and educational information. Visit reptilerescueden.co.uk.
Send your queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Remember that if an animal shows signs of distress or discomfort, an early visit to the vet is always recommended
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