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

Sunday, March 1, 2015
How would Sir like his eggs? (Photo by BIPS/Getty Images)

Love brunch? Love dogs? Then you’re in for a treat. You won’t have to leave Fido at home when you go out for a mid-morning meal when M throws a Pedigree Pooch Brunch Party next month.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Red or brown sauce? Bread or bap? White or brown?

It’s the subject of countless greasy spoon arguments: should the perfect bacon sandwich be made with brown sauce or ketchup?

Friday, February 27, 2015
There are a number of owls set to be on hand to swoop in while you sip on a cocktail

The charity which was set to receive donations from Annie the Owl has backed away from the owl cafe and called the plans for a pop-up bar ‘abusive’.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The couple 'having sex' on Charlton's pitch

A Vine video of a couple appearing to have sex on the pitch of Charlton Athletic football club’s pitch has gone viral.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The bizarre artefacts were being handed out at London Bridge (Picture: Imgur/DocJawbone)

Commuters at London Bridge were left perplexed when instead of being handed their usual free paper they were given an intricately hand-drawn copy of the Guardian from four years ago.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Shaunna Baynes broke her nose and injured her hip in the fall

An Elvis fan who allegedly tripped over an air steward sprawled across the business class aisle of a flight has received £2,000 in compensation – from her own lawyer.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

The newly-engaged couple looked adorable as they messed about on the shore.

Read more

Unsurprisingly, Ireland’s players scored higher in our rankings but were there any glimmers of hope for England?

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Technology experts have been giving their verdict on the first big smartphone offerings of 2015.

The Korean smartphone giants made the announcement at their Unpacked event ahead of Mobile World Congress.

Smartphone giant has announced the new flagship One M9 ahead of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Quirky London