Pet owners in Bury are being urged to take their turtles, terrapins and tortoises to a free “weigh-in” health check this weekend.

For more than 35 years, the Northern Region of the British Chelonia Group (BCG) have been organising a "weigh-in" check-up event to give advice and information to reptile owners in the town. 

The free event formerly took place at the former Wilkinson’s store in Bury town centre, but this time will be hosted by The United Reformed Church on Parsons Lane on Saturday, November 25 from 10am to 3.30pm.

The weigh-in gives tortoise-owners the chance to have their animals checked over, weighed and measured.

They can also get useful help and advice about care, feeding and housing.

John Thorpe, north region chairman of the BCG, says the event is chance to educate people on proper reptile care and added that check-ups have been "lifesaving" for animals in the past.

Bury Times: A tortoise gets a check-up at last year's weigh-in eventA tortoise gets a check-up at last year's weigh-in event (Image: John Thorpe)

He said: “There’s a lot of misunderstanding (about reptile care) even among the veterinary profession.

“There is a lot of information on the internet but very often it is conflicting, and it is confusing for people.

“We give people the opportunity to give their animals a basic health check. Their weight is very important as it is an indicator of health.

“If we spot anything that is untoward, we can flag this up, in many cases this has saved the lives in the past.”

John added that it can be more difficult to spot health issues in tortoises, turtles and terrapins than other common pets such as dogs and cats.

He said he commonly gives advice to people about appropriate housing and how to keep their cold-blooded friends at the right temperature.

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Bury Times: Reptile owners can get useful advice and information about caring for their animalsReptile owners can get useful advice and information about caring for their animals

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“They’re only as active as their ambient temperature is”, he said.

“People don’t expect them to be very active but in the right conditions they’re very active but in the wrong conditions they’ll sit in the corner and do nothing.”

John asked that owners bringing their pets to the event should ensure they are kept warm in transit and advised them to keep their reptile separate from other animals to minimise the chance to disease transfer.

He also thanked the United Reformed Church for offering to host the autumn event and offering attendees refreshments.