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03 Oct 2022

Alert issued over invasive turtle found in Laois

Alert issued over invasive turtle found in Laois

Credit: National Biodiversity Data Centre

The National Parks and Wildlife Service has issued a Species Alert for an invasive species recently recorded in Laois. 

The NPWS said the alert for the Pond Slider(Trachemys scripta) turtles was issued “to notify the prominence of this invasive species throughout the country, as an Invasive Species of Union Concern.”

First reported in the wild in Ireland in 2003, the Pond Slider is considered an alien invasive species as it is non-native and competes with indigenous wildlife for food and resources. It can also carry disease and parasites. As the species matures it becomes more omnivorous, they predominantly eat plants but also have the ability to prey on young birds and fish. This could impact upon Ireland’s native biodiversity. It’s believed the invasive species were brought to Ireland as pets. 

Recently Pond Sliders were identified in The Lough, Cork City in March 2021 and the species has been reported eight times since then. They were recorded in the National Botanic Gardens, Dublin in May 2020 and in Phoenix Park in June 2020. There have been many other sightings since 2020, notably in Skerries in Dublin, Leixlip in Kildare and Kilminchy in Portlaoise.

The NPWS said all three subspecies of Pond Slider (Yellow-Bellied Slider, Red-Eared Slider and Cumberland Slider) are regulated invasive species of Union concern under the European Regulation on the prevention and management of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species. 

Additionally, the importation of Red-Eared Sliders is prohibited under the Wildlife Trade Regulation (Council Regulation 338/97) of the European Union.  Red-Eared and Yellow-Bellied Sliders have been evaluated as having a risk of medium impact while Cumberland Sliders have a risk of high impact.

Pond Sliders live in slow flowing freshwater habitats with soft bottoms and an abundance of aquatic vegetation. 

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Anyone who sees a Pond Slider is asked to report the sighting online at https://records.biodiversityireland.ie or through the Biodiversity Data Capture app.

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