Young reporter, Leo Kavanah from Wilson's School writes about Wandsworth's sunbathing terrapins.
Wandsworth common is the last place where you would expect to find turtles, and yet every evening, a group of terrapins (freshwater turtles) can be seen sunbathing on a log in the middle of its lake, usually perched on a semi submerged log, shells catching the dwindling light, usually with a small crowd of walkers looking on. This isn’t the only exotic wildlife to have captivated local residents, with lake residents ranging from huge catfish and brightly hued crayfish to the solemn looking herons who can be seen to stand sentry over the park every sunset.
These terrapins have fascinated local walkers for years, with some speculating that they are descended from unwanted pets released into the water. Regardless of their origins, the terrapins have been gaining in numbers, meaning that a series of small rafts have been installed along the lake, providing a safe area for the terrapins to eat ad sunbathe.
These brightly coloured platforms have attracted much attention from locals, with some even worrying that they will be detrimental to the parks picturesque scenery. There has also been some concern as to the ecological impact that the booming terrapin population might have – the species is non-native, and there are fears that they could disrupt the park’s delicate ecological balance, a concern held particularly amongst the parks thriving community of wildlife lovers. So far, however, there have been no problems reported, and with numbers ever on the rise it looks like the terrapins are here to stay.