While Australians are used to dealing with all kinds of wildlife, Germans in the normally sleepy Bavarian town of Irsee are trying to work out how to deal with an elusive biting creature living in the local Oggenreider lake. Wildlife experts believe it to be an alligator turtle, which is a species known to have a particularly snappy temperament. To complicate matters, some varieties of alligator turtles can hibernate for up to two years and can live for up to 200 years.
There have been many solutions already tried, these have included draining the lake and scouring it with hunting dogs and setting up traps to try to take the turtle, known as Lotti by surprise. Now the local mayor Andreas Lieb has come up with a more creative solution. He has asked the town blacksmith to create a metre-wide rake operated by ropes to dredge the creature out of the mud of the lake bed where she is believed to be hiding (or hibernating). Unlike Lotti, the rake will be designed with blunt teeth so that she can be removed unharmed.
Perhaps the mayor will celebrate future success by taking a trip to Australia – a country which has more than its fair share of unusual wildlife and creative inventions. If he does, he’ll find his own path can be smoothed with the help of a German NAATI translator.