Turtle terror

Published: Thursday 30 September 1993

-- (Credit: Rustam Vania)TURTLES, bought originally as children's pets at the height of the Mutant Ninja Turtle craze, are posing a serious threat to bathers in the French Riviera.

Biologists say the pet turtles, abandoned and flushed down lavatories or discarded in lakes, have flourished in the hot climate and absence of predators. As a result, the turtles are mutating from only a few centimetres long into 30-cm carnivorous creatures that weigh upto 5 kg. These turtles are a threat to bathers all the way from Marseille to Menton and are also devouring stocks of breeding fish. Spurred by reports of turtles biting bathers, the authorities are planning to prohibit swimming in many areas and are warning swimmers in other areas to exercise extreme caution.

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