Exotic pest turtle found in Caroline Springs

A Red-eared slider turtle. (Supplied)

Tara Murray

A red-eared slider turtle has been removed from a lake in Caroline Springs after being spotted by a member of the public.

The animal, which is classified as an exotic pest, was spotted at Lake Caroline, with Agriculture Victoria officers later attending and removing the animal.

Since 2000, about 20 red-eared slider turtles have been captured in or adjacent to Victorian rivers and lakes including the Yarra River, Elwood Canal, Elsternwick Park Lake, and in urban areas of Lara, Frankston, Aberfeldie, Kensington and Taylors Lakes.

Agriculture Victoria leading biosecurity officer Emily Hill said the team was extremely grateful to the resident who reported seeing the turtle

“It was most likely an escapee or deliberately released animal from the illegal pet trade,” she said.

“The illegal keeping of red-eared slider turtles poses one of the greatest risks of the species establishing in Victoria.

“Escapees or deliberately released animals can be extremely difficult and costly to recover.

“The red-eared slider turtle can carry new exotic diseases and parasites to our native turtles and reptiles leading to population declines in the wild.

“It’s an aggressive pest animal that can completely dominate its environment and displace native turtles such as the eastern long-necked turtle, competing with them for food, basking and nesting sites and habitat.”

To report sightings of the animals: highrisk.invasiveanimals@agriculture.vic.gov.au or at 136 186.