A 'DANGEROUS' turtle with a jaw that can close with the force of hundreds of newtons was found in Urswick Tarn, Cumbria. 

An alligator snapping turtle, most commonly associated with swamps and rivers in Florida and other southern parts of the United States, was spotted by Great Urswick residents in the tarn on the edge of the village. 

It took a community effort to spot and identify the turtle, but eventually, Urswick, Bardsea and Stainton parish councillor Denise Chamberlain was the one to retrieve it and take it Wild Side Vets in Barrow

"It's a very dangerous invasive species. They can snap arms and small children. It's an item from the pet trade being dumped because an owner was unable to look after it," she claimed.

"It was starting to look quite sorry for itself. I rang various agencies who were unhelpful. Everyone thought it was a terrapin - it's not."

The Westmorland Gazette: The turtle has a strong jaw that can snap through boneThe turtle has a strong jaw that can snap through bone (Image: Denise Chamberlain)

Eventually, Cllr Chamberlain carefully lifted the turtle into an old shopping basket and took it to the vet. She called Wild Side Vets the 'heroes' of the story. 

"They've got it on its feet. They were brilliant - very helpful." 

READ MORE: Loggerhead turtle found and rescued near Barrow, south Cumbria

Although the turtle 'wasn't in shocking health, it looked a bit sad' she said it is going to be difficult for it to be rehomed. She asked people who own exotic pets but cannot look after them any more to call for help from agencies such as the RSPCA rather than releasing them into the wild. 

Alligator snapping turtles are known for their armour, which gives them a prehistoric dinosaur-like appearance. Even in other states outside of the south-eastern US, they are considered an invasive species because of the impact they have on the local ecology and the fact that they have no natural predators.  

According to the Britannica website, they can grow to 80 to 100cm and weigh 70 to 90kg. Their life span in the wild usually ranges up to around 45 years. 

The website states: "Capable of exerting a force of several hundred newtons, their bite can easily break through bone and has been known to sever human fingers."