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Germans hunt turtle after attack on boy

image captionHow such a turtle got into a Bavarian lake remains a mystery

Residents of a German town have joined a determined search for a turtle blamed for an attack on a young swimmer.

A lake was drained at the weekend in the hunt for what is suspected to be an alligator snapping turtle.

Firefighters and local helpers at the Oggenrieder Weiher, in Bavaria, are wading through mud hoping to find the reptile, which is not a native species.

The turtle, nicknamed Lotti, is likely to be some 40cm (16 inches) long and weigh at least 14kg (30 pounds).

An eight-year-old German boy on holiday was bitten while bathing in the lake a week ago. His Achilles tendon was severed in two places, and zoologists in Munich later concluded that an alligator turtle had probably attacked him.

Such turtles are native to North America, so German authorities believe the reptile must have been released into the lake by its owner. Since 1999 there has been a ban on keeping the turtles in Germany, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reports on its website.

The local mayor, Andreas Lieb, has offered a 1,000-euro (£859; $1,330) reward for whoever finds Lotti, while warning against any attempt to trap the turtle without expert help.

Lotti may be lying low in the thick mud, so it could be a long and perhaps fruitless search. Volunteers are reported to be beating the mud with the brooms more often used to put out small woodland fires.

About 500 fish were transferred to a nearby pond when the lake - which is about the size of a football pitch - was drained. But Mr Lieb has described the whole incident as a "disaster", coming at the height of the holiday season.