A TURTLE native to the USA has been found living in the River Foss in York.

The creature was spotted on Wednesday afternoon basking on the banks of the river by York punk rocker Stevie Ze Suicide.

Stevie said he was concerned for its welfare and waded into the Foss to rescue the 10inch long amphibian when it crawled back into the water.

He said: “I was out walking my dog next to the river where it runs along Huntington Road. Someone had already noticed the turtle and picked it up but he dropped it and it crawled back into the river. I love animals and I didn’t want anyone harming it so I waited to see if it would come back.”

Following a few unsuccessful attempts to grab the animal, Stevie said he waded into the river and caught it.

“His shell was caked in a layer of hard mud, but when I took it home and hosed him down the colours were beautiful. It was in really good condition.”

The gender of the turtle is not known but it is believed to be a yellow bellied slider, a species native to the southern USA, according to Hannah Walker, of Critters Reptile Rescue near Driffield who was shown a photograph of it.

She said: “The likelihood is it’s just come out of hibernation hence he has managed to catch it because it’s been too slow.

“It is it not uncommon to find these animals occurrence, but they are also fantastic at destroying our natural ecosystems, eating not only aquatic invertebrates, fish and amphibians but plant life as well.”

The turtle was originally taken to Colin Rawstron, a former reptile keeper from York, who said it was almost certainly a pet which had been abandoned.

“I think somebody had this when it was about two inches long and it kept outgrowing its tank and they have put it into the river. I think this one would be about seven or eight years old but I think it’s been dumped in the last couple of months. It would have struggled to survive the winter in the Foss.”

The turtle now has a new home at a North Yorkshire sanctuary.