Cambridge

The ‘dinner plate sized’ terrapin that’s been missing for five months

A Cambridgeshire woman's terrapin named Elspeth has been missing for five months, and time is running out before the temperature drops, and she'll have to hibernate.

Annie Kristiansen, of Doddington, said the 15-year-old yellow-bodied terrapin disappeared at the beginning of June. Although she has been spotted a couple of times, she has never stayed in one place long enough for Annie to retrieve her.

Annie has been searching far and wide for Elspeth, including using her small dinghy to look along the riverbanks, saying: "I've done an extensive search all around my home, but I haven't been able to find her.

"She was spotted again in early July, but by the time I'd heard about it and got there she had gone. At the end of August she was spotted on a riverbank in March too.

"I'm sure she's trying to find her way back."

Annie's terrapin that went missing back in June (Image: Annie Kristiansen)

Female terrapins often roam either to lay eggs or find mates, but Annie says they are quite territorial so often return.

Over the winter Annie's male terrapin passed away, so she thinks this might be why Elspeth has disappeared.

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As you might expect, one phone call about a sighting in Horseway left Annie with a lookalike terrapin on the run but no Elspeth.

She said: "The postman, who had seen my posters called me to say he was looking right at a terrapin, but when I arrived it was a different one. This one was a smaller red-eared terrapin male.

"Because they are now considered an invasive species, people can't pass them on, so they do sometimes get abandoned."

Annie's yellow-bodied terrapin (Image: Annie Kristiansen)

Terrapins hibernate in the winter, so Annie is hoping to be reunited with her beloved pet before the temperatures get too cold. She did add that Elspeth should survive the winter on her own.

There's currently a £50 reward for anyone who can keep Elspeth in sight long enough for Annie to come and retrieve her.

Annie says she doesn't need anyone to actually catch her as terrapins have such a strong bite they can chomp through fishing wire. She also asks that would-be rescuers avoid using a net and leaving her in the water because she could drown.

If you've seen a yellow-bodied terrapin, please call Annie on 01354 677010.

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