Emergencies: Giant tortoise exposed - animal freezes to death

A walker discovered a dead giant tortoise in a bush in Ellerbek near Hamburg.

Emergencies: Giant tortoise exposed - animal freezes to death

A walker discovered a dead giant tortoise in a bush in Ellerbek near Hamburg. The animal - a spurred tortoise - is one of the third largest tortoise species in the world and usually lives in dry and hot areas of North Africa. "The spurred tortoise doesn't hibernate and needs a lot of warmth in winter. That's probably why it was abandoned by its owners," said Christian Erdmann, head of the wildlife and species protection center near Elmshorn, to the dpa. The Pinneberg animal protection association brought the dead animal there. The “Bild” newspaper (Hamburg) reported first.

The wildlife expert examined the turtle's shell, which shows its age, in more detail and estimates the turtle's age to be around 40 years. Normally the animals can live up to 110 years and weigh up to 80 kilograms. He believes the animal was purchased online or at a reptile exchange. "You can buy everything there. The worst poisonous animals ever. And politicians don't do anything about it," said Erdmann. He hopes that there will soon be stricter laws for the trade in wild animals in Germany. A registration and chip requirement would allow owners to be identified quickly.

The zookeeper now wants to keep the dead turtle in a safe place. Once the worms have eaten them from the inside, he wants to put the tank on display and warn visitors not to get exotic animals as pets.

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