Shocked fisherman catches snapping turtle in Regents Canal

13:18 25 July 2012

Tony Morris caught a snapping turtle at the Regents Canal

Tony Morris caught a snapping turtle at the Regents Canal

Archant

Something fishy happened at the Regents Canal last week when a baffled angler hoping to net some pike, caught a vicious 18in snapping turtle instead.

Tony Morris was particularly surprised by the catch - because he knew the turtles are normally only found in Mexico or North America.

The 21-year-old, of Goldsmith Road, Haggerston, said: “I’d been fishing with my dad, but unfortunately it hadn’t been a good night because it had been raining and the canal was too muddy, so we were going home at about 11.30pm.

“We were shining the torch as we walked along, and we spotted a big round shape in the water.

“I got my fishing net out and when we pulled it out it was snapping at us, and I knew it was a snapping turtle because I’ve seen them on documentaries.”

The quick-thinking fisherman told his dad to film the creature, while he carefully held its shell so it couldn’t bite him.

But before they could take a still photograph, the turtle managed to slip out of his grasp and dived back into the canal, near The Perseverance pub at the bottom of Broadway Market on Saturday, July 14.

“In the past, I’ve caught all sorts of things you wouldn’t expect in the canal, like crabs, eels, and American crayfish,” said Tony, “but the snapping turtle is the most unusual thing I’ve ever caught!”

The Gazette’s photographer met Tony on Tuesday to take a snap of him, but as she was leaving Tony excitedly called her back because the turtle surfaced just in time to have his picture taken too.

Once again, the wily creature managed to dive back into the water and escape.

Amphibian and reptile expert Dr Ian Stephen, curator for herpetology at London Zoo, confirmed it was a snapping turtle.

“It’ll be an unwanted pet that someone’s released,” he said. “It’s a big problem. People buy them when they’re quite small and cute, but when they get to the size of a dinner plate they are capable of taking a little kid’s finger off.”

• It’s illegal to release a non-native or “alien” species into the wild. If you spot the turtle, call the Royal Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) on 0300 1234 999 so officers can collect it.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

More Quirky London

Friday, April 17, 2015
(Pic: Theo Cohen for London Pet Show)

Man is responsible for some terrible acts of nature. But dog yoga - or ‘Doga’ as it’s known - might just take the biscuit for the most ridiculous.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Researching pictures of full English breakfasts for this article was a hard task for a hungry journalist... [Photograph by Ewan Munro]

A woman from Greenwich has started up a cooked breakfast delivery business - and hopes to expand across London.

Friday, April 10, 2015
Alisan has had its premises licence suspended (Pic credit: Angela Blake)

A restaurant in Wembley has been forced to close after it had its premises licence suspended following a serious of violent incidents including an attempted murder.

Friday, April 10, 2015
The fox cub trapped in the football net.

A fox cub, only a few weeks old, nearly scored an own goal when it caught its neck in a back garden football net.

Thursday, April 9, 2015
The sign was spotted by Emily Power

This intriguing sign was spotted in east London offering the princely sum of £50 for completing a 1000-piece jigsaw.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015
The final piece [Photograph by @CandieBandit]

A Parisian man proposed to his girlfriend last week in the most east London way possible: with a graffiti mural in the tunnel near Shoreditch High Street station.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...