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Reptiles receive health check as popular Bury event returns

Bury Chelonia Group chairman John Thorpe at the weigh-in <i>(Image: John Thorpe)</i>
Bury Chelonia Group chairman John Thorpe at the weigh-in (Image: John Thorpe)

The organiser of a popular reptile weigh-in event has hailed the event a success despite the closure of its usual venue.

The regular tortoise weigh-in event, which invites owners of turtles, terrapins and tortoises, to bring their animals for a free health check, took place once again this weekend.

The event, which has taken place in the town for 35 years, found a new home at the Bury United Reformed Church after its usual venue, Wilkinson’s at The Rock, closed down earlier this year.

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Bury Times: A tortoise gets a check-up at the weigh-in event
Bury Times: A tortoise gets a check-up at the weigh-in event

A tortoise gets a check-up at the weigh-in event (Image: John Thorpe)

The weigh-in offers a free check up for pets as well as help and advice for reptile owners, organised by the British Chelonia Group (BCG).

John Thorpe, North West chairman of the BCG, said the weigh-in can help to clear up misconceptions around reptile care, and in the past, the check-ups have saved the lives of animals brought-in.

Bury Times: A tortoise gets a weigh-in at Bury Unitarian Church on Saturday
Bury Times: A tortoise gets a weigh-in at Bury Unitarian Church on Saturday

A tortoise gets a weigh-in at Bury Unitarian Church on Saturday (Image: John Thorpe)

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Following Saturday’s event, he said: “I am very grateful to the church and to Ms Neininger, who got in touch to offer us space there to hold the event.

“Obviously the loss of the store as a venue was a huge shock and much more so for the staff involved, but the event will continue because people love it and are appreciative of the help and advice we give."

John said 43 animals were seen and assessed for health, species included Hermann’s tortoise, Spur thighed tortoise, African spurred tortoise, terrapins and Horsfield’s tortoises.

Bury Times: More than 40 animals were brought into the tortoise weigh-ins
Bury Times: More than 40 animals were brought into the tortoise weigh-ins

More than 40 animals were brought into the tortoise weigh-ins (Image: John Thorpe)

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He added: “An unexpected and very pleasant surprise was provided in the shape of Nicole Mann an American veterinary surgeon and exotics specialist, soon to take up a position with Pennine Vets.

“She very kindly stayed for some time and gave valuable assistance. We much appreciated her taking the time to come down and meet everyone, and wish her all the best in her new job.”

The event aims to educate reptile owners and combat conflicting information available about tortoise care, especially as it can be more difficult to spot health issues in tortoises, turtles and terrapins than other common pets such as dogs and cats.

Common advice includes appropriate housing and how to keep their cold-blooded friends at the right temperature.

John thanked everyone who attended this month’s event and added that the next weigh-in will take place in April next year.