• Germany's news in English

Village builds giant rake in search for turtle

The Local · 2 Sep 2013, 10:49

Published: 02 Sep 2013 10:49 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Mayor Andreas Lieb said he would catch the fugitive turtle with a giant rope-pulled rake which would churn up the muddy floor of the lake thought to be reptile's refuge.

For the past seven weeks, authorities in the Bavarian town of Irsee have keeping their eyes peeled for the bite-happy snapping turtle thought to be residing in the nearby Oggenreider lake.

Nicknamed Lotti, the creature struck fear into a southern Germany town after severing an eight-year-old boy's Achilles tendon while he was swimming.

PICTURE GALLERY: Lotti the snapping turtle terrorizes Bavarian lake

After analyzing the bite, experts said they believed it to be from the jaws of an Alligator snapping turtle, the world's largest freshwater turtle.

"Our people are there three to four times every day looking for the turtle," Lieb told newspaper the Bild, but with the search having so far turned up nothing, the mayor said he had a new plan up his sleeve.

"We'll get her out of the sludge with a giant rake," he said, adding that he had commissioned the village blacksmith Hans Kohlhund, 75, to create the massive tool, which should be ready to deploy in three to four weeks.

Pulled by a system of ropes, the plan is to use the metre-wide, wrought-iron rake to dredge the whole of the 16,000 metre-squared lake floor and force Lotti out of her muddy hideaway.

However Lieb is determined to catch Lotti alive and well and insists the rake is not intended as a weapon. "The teeth shouldn't be pointed, but blunt so that the creature isn't hurt," he said.

In extreme cases Alligator turtles, which are known for their aggressive demeanor, can live to 200 years old.

Lieb said he was concerned Lotti could turn out to be one of a type of Alligator turtles which has been known to hibernate for up to two years in mud and slime. The creatures are "masters of disguise," said Lieb, "in the sludge they can't be seen."

Having tried everything, including dredging the lake, scouring the lake floor with hunting dogs, surrounding the lake with an electric fence and setting up traps around lake to prevent Lotti slipping away, there has been no sign of the reptile.

The lake has now been partially refilled with water covering about a fifth of the floor, at a depth of about 20 cm in order to entice the reptile into a smaller piece of ground.

Story continues below…

A group of girls from the area have taken the attack tongue in cheek, putting up laminated posters on trees by the lake with a photograph of a snapping turtle. The posters read: “Beware, Lotti lives here.” “Beware, snappy.”

"If an Alligator snapping turtle has really hidden itself in the slime, we'll get it," said Lieb.

DPA/The Local/jcw/tsb/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Long-vanished German car brand joins electric race
Photo: DPA

Cars bearing the stamp of once-defunct manufacturer Borgward will once again roll off an assembly line in north Germany from 2018, the firm said Wednesday.

Eurowings cabin crew union to strike all day Thursday
Photo: DPA.

UPDATE: A union representing cabin crews on Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings has announced that strikes will last all day Thursday as ongoing contract negotiations continue to falter.

Hesse hopes to set example by building Iraqi orphanages
Refugee children in northern Iraq. Photo: DPA

The wealthy central German state of Hesse has set aside €1 million to build a school, family homes and an orphanage in northern Iraq, in an effort to help refugees there.

The Local List
10 German clichés that foreigners get very wrong
David Hasselhoff. Photo: DPA

Whether it be efficiency, humourlessness or a love of a certain Baywatch star, there are many cliches stuck in the heads of foreigners about Germany. But how true are they?

Fake Germanwings victim relative convicted in Cologne
A torn piece of metal at the crash site in 2015. Photo: DPA

A German court on Wednesday gave a woman a year's suspended jail sentence for posing as the cousin of a victim in last year's Germanwings plane crash and obtaining compensation offered by the airline.

Couple accused of torturing, murdering women go on trial
The so-called 'house of horrors' in Höxter where the couple allegedly tortured and killed women. Photo: DPA.

A couple accused of luring women to their village home with personal ads started trial on Wednesday over charges that they tortured and killed at least two of their victims.

After July attacks, govt drafts new video surveillance law
Photo: DPA

The Interior Ministry is drafting a law which will enable public spaces to be filmed for surveillance purposes as a reaction to deadly attacks in July, according to a newspaper report.

Merkel: murky internet giants distort perception of reality
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel called on Tuesday for internet giants to make public their closely-guarded algorithms, claiming that they are not giving people diverse enough information.

Pegida leader 'paid court costs with group's money'
Pegida leader Lutz Bachmann. Photo: DPA.

The leader of the anti-Islam movement reportedly used money from Pegida's coffers to pay for two personal court cases, German media reported this week.

Anger as Berlin scraps Turkey concert on Armenia genocide
The Dresden Symphony Orchestra. Photo: DPA

Germany's foreign ministry Tuesday scrapped a planned symphony performance on the Armenian "genocide" in its Istanbul consulate, sparking accusations that it was caving in to Turkish pressure.

10 ways German completely messes up your English
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Germany's 10 most weird and wonderful landmarks
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd