CAUTION, TURTLE: A red-eared Slider Turtle.
CAUTION, TURTLE: A red-eared Slider Turtle. Cade Mooney

Aggressive turtles on loose spark warning

THREE red-eared slider turtles have recently been found in the suburbs of Morayfield and Burpengary, prompting a call out from Biosecurity Queensland for residents to remain vigilant and report any sightings of the pest species.

Biosecurity Queensland Officer Duncan Swan said the first turtle, an adult, was found by a resident in Morayfield and handed to Moreton Bay Regional Council, who then contacted Biosecurity Queensland.

"Two more juveniles were then detected in the suburb of Burpengary on Wednesday and seized by Biosecurity Queensland officers," Mr Swan said.

"We are aware there are low numbers of red-eared slider turtles in the Burpengary area and this is the time of year they are often seen moving around.

"Therefore we urge residents to be on the lookout for this pest species and report sightings to Biosecurity Queensland or local council.

"Red-eared slider turtles have a distinctive red strip behind each ear and their heads retract straight back into their shell, unlike native turtles that don't retract.

"They are also quite aggressive, have sharp claws and can bite, so if you do see a red-eared slider turtle don't pick it up, instead try and place a bucket or washing basket over it and call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

"Juvenile red-eared slider turtles can be as small as a twenty cent piece and adults can grow as large as 30 centimetres in length.

"Biosecurity Queensland want to stress that it is illegal to keep, feed or sell red-eared slider turtles.

"Red-eared slider turtles can out-compete native turtles for food and space in the waterways and can carry disease that can kill native species and other aquatic wildlife," Mr Swan said.

Under the Biosecurity Act 2014 red-eared slider turtles are a restricted invasive animal and all sightings must be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

If you see a red-eared slider turtle, report it to Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23, or visit www.biosecurity.qld.gov.au for more information.



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