Paddington TORTOISES found at iconic station

Paddington TORTOISES found at iconic station

EVERYONE knows the story of how Paddington Bear got his name after being abandoned at the famous rail station… Now two young tortoises have sparked an investigation after suffering the same fate.

Astonished RSPCA inspectors are trying to unravel how the two reptiles turned up on a platform at the busy London station in a box marked: “For Heathrow Customs Quarantine ».

In the story of Paddington, the young, polite bear from Darkest Peru is found by the Brown family sitting on a suitcase at the station wearing a hat and with a sign, declaring: “Please look after this bear.”

And so begins one of the classics of modern children’s literature which has gone on to inspire a series of books, selling more than 30 million copies worldwide in 30 languages, as well as a television series and an acclaimed film.

It is unclear whether the tortoises, either juvenile Burmese mountain tortoises or spur-thighed tortoises, were were intentionally or accidentally imported, or if they originated in the UK.

If they were intentionally dumped, it could have meant a death sentence for the young tortoises. Like all reptiles, they are ecotherms, meaning they cannot regulate their body temperature and would have been put in peril on one of the coldest days of the winter.

The two tortoisesSWNS

It is unclear whether the two tortoises were intentionally dumped

The box the tortoises were found inSWNS

The box the tortoises were found in marked « For Heathrow Custom’s Quarantine »

As the tortoises now get the specialist attention they need to get back to full health, RSPCA inspector Philip Norman said: “It’s safe to say the employee was somewhat shell-shocked to discover the reptiles waiting on the platform at the station just ahead of the evening rush-hour.

“Station workers often stumble across lost luggage and misplaced coats but a cardboard box with tortoises inside is an unusual one.

“We would like to hear from anyone who saw anything suspicious at the station at around 3.25pm on Friday or anyone who may know where the tortoises have come from, or how they came to be at Paddington.

Paddington train station

Paddington train station, where the tortoises were found

« The RSPCA says keeping exotic animals as pets takes a lot of commitment and urges potential owners to research what care requirements they need before giving one a home.

« Potential owners need to make sure they can give their animal the environment it needs and that they have the facilities, time, financial means and long-term commitment to maintain a good standard of care, as required under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, » says the charity.

Anyone with information about the Paddington tortoises is urged to call the RSPCA’s appeal line on 0300 123 8018