An Alabama map turtle has been rescued from a river in Caerphilly town.
The young Alabama map turtle was found by two children in the Nant yr Aber river near the Asda supermarket on Wednesday, August 7.
The children took the stray reptile to a nearby vets, before RSPCA officers came to collect it.
The turtle, which was found with its eyes swollen shut, was later taken to the International Tortoise Association in Sully, near Barry.
The RSPCA has said the turtle is doing well since being rescued, with one eye reopening and the other expected to reopen soon.
An appeal has now been launched by the RSPCA to track down the turtle’s owner and to establish how it ended up in the river.
RSPCA inspector Christine McNeil said: “This poor turtle was found very cold in a stream in Caerphilly; and undoubtedly very scared.
“We’re so grateful to the two boys who spotted this animal and transported her to a veterinary practice. They may very well have saved her life.
“Exotic pets can be a real challenge to care for; and sadly our officers do deal with many cases where animals have either been abandoned, or have escaped inappropriate accommodation.
“It is unclear in this case whether this turtle was abandoned or had escaped – but we’re eager to try and find out what happened to her.
“Anyone with information can contact our inspectorate appeal line on 0300 123 8018.”
In a statement, the RSPCA said: “Abandoning a reptile or releasing unwanted exotic pets into the wild is cruel and illegal. Reptiles are wild animals kept in captivity and so their needs – as defined under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 – are essentially no different to animals of the same species living in the wild.
“The needs of reptiles can be challenging to meet by members of the public because they are fundamentally linked to certain behaviours, diets or environmental conditions that can be difficult to replicate in a home.
“Reptiles that are not native to this country need a heated environment with a specific temperature gradient for the species to regulate their body temperature in order to stay healthy and allow them to carry out their normal behaviour. This cold stream would have been a wholly inappropriate environment for the poor turtle.
“If a reptile becomes too cold they may be unable to feed or move normally and their immune system will not work properly to fight disease, meaning the animal can become very ill.”