The discovery of a dangerous alligator snapping turtle found near Ulverston has prompted discussion nationally over the responsibility of exotic pet owners.

Last Monday, a dinosaur-like turtle, now nick-named 'Fluffy' has gone viral after first being reported on by The Mail.

The dinosaur-like creature was posted on social media and recognised by a savvy parish councillor who used to live in Florida.

Brave Denise Chamberlain fished it out of a lake in Urswick Tarn with a shopping basket and it was taken to Wild Side Vets in Barrow following a massive community effort.

The parish councillor risked potentially losing a finger as alligator snapping turtles can bite through bone.

International animal right charity, World Animal Protection, spoke out on the back of the Mail's report and insisted that an alligator snapping turtle that was capable of being found in Cumbria 'was very likely being kept as a pet'.

Charlotte Regan, wildlife campaign manager, said: "As a society, we desperately need to re-evaluate the acceptability of keeping wild species as pets; even if captive-bred, they are still wild animals, with complex welfare needs."

Cumbria has become known for its big cat sightings, namely the famous 'beast of Cumbria'.

In 2021, a woman called Claire Harvey fled a big cat on the Pike of Blisco which sits above Wrynose Pass.

Roy Jackson, in 2018, set up an infra-red motion-activated camera at his home in Gatebeck, Kendal, after he believed he spotted one with a torch whilst walking his dog.

Two days later, he managed to capture it with infa-red. 

Whitehaven News: SIGHTING: A caracal reportedly spotted in the Lake District earlier this year - image from the 'Big Cats in Cumbria' Facebook page

A year later, local big cat enthusiast Sharon Larkin-Snowden stated that there had been several sightings of two big cats hunting together in Kendal.

A terrified hotel worker, Nich Boden , told the Westmorland Gazette in 2015 how he was knocked unconscious in Tarn Hows Wood, between Coniston and Hawkshead.

He woke up with injuries consistent with a big cat claw marks.

Whitehaven News: Nich Boden, 26 of Hawkshead who received mysterious injuries while walking in Tarn Hows Wood. (32020403)There have been many theories as to what the Cumbrian big cats are - including paranormal entities.

One of the most rational explanations is that in the 1960s and 70s, it was fashionable, and very legal, to keep exotic animals.

This all changed however with the Dangerous Wild Animals Act in 1976 and many animals, including big cats were released, from private homes.

It is thought that the 'beasts' sighted today are the offspring of this generation.

In modern times, there is tighter regulation however it can still be hard to oversee in personal homes.

In 2022, a 'gigantic' boa constrictor was discovered by a horrified Kendal landlord after he spent months trying to get rid of a nightmare tenant.

Landlord Phil Tewkesley,  then 47, said the man boasted about being an animal rescuer who sermonised about how well he took care of his pets.

Whitehaven News: boa constrictorThe family apparently used the Covid pandemic as an excuse for him not to enter the property and when he finally he did, he was met with a 'gigantic' boa constrictor under mounds of rubbish.

Not only that but there were also four snakes - half were dead - as well as fish, a scorpion, a tarantula - as well as bugs crawling across the carpet.

Whitehaven News:

Once the tenants were removed, the RSPCA called in the police, who sent an officer to witness the recovery of the animals.