Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Introduced species: the lonely turtle in the Reeuwijkse plassen

On Wednesday I often go out on the bike for an short break of an hour or so. Pedalling along the Reeuwijkse Plassen I met this turtle. A beautiful full grown Red Eared Slider (NL- Roodwangschildpad). Native of the southern United States and southern Canada. Mrs turtle had a good time today basking in the sunshine (28 degrees Celsius today) on a floating piece of peat-soil.
While I was taking photos with my GSM-Cameraphone (Phonecamera?) some hiking ladies came by, highly surprised and wondering if a turtle can survive in our climate. It can for some years. But it won’t get old. Red Eared Sliders can live several decades. But not in our cold and humid climate. It may take some years, but infections and mildew will slowly kill the turtle, in 4 or 5 years and it will be gone. It looks so cute, but leads a poor and lonely life. Probably dumped by an owner who was no longer interested in this pet for the kids.
Since a few years importing and selling Red Eared Sliders is forbidden in the Netherlands.

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