Category Archives: Red Eared Slider Turtle

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CABI: Invasive Species Compendium

The Invasive Species Compendium (ISC) is an online encyclopaedic resource that draws together scientific information on all aspects of invasive species (plant, insect and animal) worldwide.

It comprises detailed datasheets that have been written by experts, edited by CABI’s scientific staff, peer reviewed and enhanced with data from specialist organizations, images, maps, and a bibliographic database of abstracts and full text articles. New datasheets and data sets continue to be added, datasheets are reviewed and updated, and new scientific literature is included  on a weekly basis.

The ISC has been resourced by a diverse international Consortium of government departments, non-governmental organizations and private companies.

CABI (www.cabi.org/) is an international not-for-profit organization that improves people’s lives by providing information and applying scientific expertise to solve problems in agriculture and the environment.

Access the Invasive Species Compendium at: http://www.cabi.org/isc/

Reference type Website
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National mapping of the abundance of established, new and emerging pest animals to improve decision-making and the assessment of government investment programs: Part 1 – PEST ANIMALS

Lead researcher: Peter West, NSW Department of Primary Industries, peter.west@dpi.nsw.gov.au

Baseline information on the distribution and damage caused by pest animals is required to allocate resources to where they are most required and at strategic times. Data on the damage caused by pest animals is rarely available across broad landscapes and management agencies (and landholders) are largely reliant on information about the occurrence and numeric abundance of pests to guide management decisions and resourcing of on-ground pest control. Information on the extent and abundance of pest animals is also used to evaluate the effectiveness of policies, programs and decision-making.

This project aimed to directly address the need for improved information on significant pest animal species at the national-level through 4 objectives:

  1. To implement nationally endorsed monitoring protocols (at a finer-scale) to collect, collate and report information for established, new and emerging pest animal species throughout Australia (to complement existing national-scale datasets and information products).
  1. To develop improved Australia-wide datasets for national priority pest animals for monitoring, evaluation, reporting and program improvement (MERI).
  1. To centralise datasets for all species and produce consistent information products for all relevant regional, state/territory and national levels
  1. To deliver information products to relevant agencies, land managers and the community via government data libraries, portals, and stakeholder websites.

This project was funded under the Australian Pest Animal Research Program (APARP).
For more APARP projects, visit: www.pestsmart.org.au/australian-pest-animal-research-program/

Secondary title APARP Report
Reference type Report
Author Peter West
Year 2011
Publisher NSW Department of Primary Industries
Pages 63
Region Australia - national
Documents

Download full report: National mapping of the abundance of established, new and emerging pest animals to improve decision-making and the assessment of government investment programs STAGE 1: PEST ANIMALS [ 3.5 Mb PDF ]

Factsheet: new & emerging pest species

Incursions of exotic (non-native) species in the wild create the risk of new pest populations establishing and significantly impacting our environment, economy and/or society. Preventing new pests from entering the wild and establishing is far more cost effective than attempting to eradicate them after they have become established. No widely established pest animal has been successfully eradicated on a mainland. So, detection and prevention of entering or spread of new species is the key to avoiding new pest problems.

Incursions of new species can result from escapes from captivity, deliberate releases, smuggling and stowaways. With the large amount of global and local travel and trade, the risk of incursion events is increasing. There are many examples of animals that have accidentally or deliberately been released into the environment in small numbers and established as pests (rabbits are a prime example). Propagule pressure (the number of release
events and number of individuals released) is a critical aspect influencing where and when animals will establish a free-living population — the more individuals of a species released, the greater the chance that species will establish.

Documents

PestSmart Factsheet: New & Emerging Pest Species (350 kb PDF)

Links

PestSmart: New and Emerging pest species

Author Invasive Animals CRC
Year 2011
Publisher Invasive Animals CRC
Pages 2 pp
Region Australia - national

Red-eared Slider Turtles in Australia and New Zealand

Pond sliders (Trachemys scripta) are freshwater turtles. This is a variable species consisting of many subspecies that occupy a broad natural range in the United States and Central America. The Red-eared Slider (Trachemys scripta elegans) is one subspecies that occurs naturally in the lower Mississippi drainage system in the southern United States.

The international community of professional pest managers and ecologists recognises the exotic red-eared slider turtle (REST) as a serious threat. When introduced to areas outside its natural range the species may cause serious loss of
aquatic biodiversity. The World Conservation Union’s Invasive Species Specialist Group lists REST among the world’s 100 worst invasive species.

REST are the most widely kept pet animal in the world. At least 10 million are exported annually from the USA, to supply the demand for pets, specimens for reptile collectors, food and traditional medicines. REST exported from the USA were originally taken from wild populations. However, most of the animals now exported from the USA are raised on a small number of very large turtle ‘ranches’. Sliders can readily be purchased by mail order and over the internet, and are often shipped “bulk” as hatchlings. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) and Australian Customs Service report that travellers are regularly intercepted attempting to smuggle sliders into Australia. Sliders are also regularly intercepted in post and cargo arriving in Australia.

Secondary title Status, Impacts, Management
Secondary Author M. Scott O'Keeffe
Year 2006
Place published Brisbane
Publisher Biosecurity Queensland
Pages 101 pp
Region Australia - national
Documents Red-eared Slider Turtles in Australia and New Zealand (3.3kb)

Risk Assessments (DAFWA) for exotic reptiles and amphibians introduced to Australia – Pond slider (Trachemys scripta)

Models for assessing the risk that exotic vertebrates could establish in Australia have been developed for mammals, birds (Bomford 2003; Bomford 2006, 2008), reptiles and amphibians (Bomford 2006, 2008; Bomford et al. 2005). These Risk Assessment models have been further explored by DAFWA to confirm that they reasonably predict public safety, establishment and pest risks across a full range of exotic species and risk levels.

This document describes a risk assessment conducted ONLY for the purposes of the report, for the Pond slider (Trachemys scripta), assigned a DAFWA Threat Category of EXTREME, and an ‘Alternative Threat Category of EXTREME.

These categories and assignments have not been endorsed by the VPC.

Reptiles and amphibians were assessed for the risk they pose if introduced to Australia, by calculating DAFWA and Alternative Threat Categories. Assignment of DAFWA Threat Categories incorporated establishing populations in the wild and risk of causing public harm, and was based on the structure of the Australian Bird and Mammal Model, existing VPC conventions for assignment of threat categories and the precautionary approach. We also considered adverse impact factors and predicted effects on Australian native species and primary production to assign ‘Alternative Threat Categories’.

Author Amanda Page, Win Kirkpatrick and Marion Massam
Date 12/11/2007
Year 2010
Publisher Government of Western Australia
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Department Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Pages 23 pp
Notes DAFWA Threat Categories
Region Australia - national
Documents Risk Assessments (DAFWA) for exotic reptiles and amphibians introduced to Australia – Pond slider (Trachemys scripta)
Links http://www.pestsmart.org.au/assessment-and-prioritisation-of-risk-for-forty-exotic-animal-species/

Assessment and prioritisation of risk for forty exotic animal species

This report documents work commissioned by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre to validate and refine risk assessment models used nationally in decisions to import and manage introduced vertebrate species. The intent of the project was to:

  • increase predictive accuracy, scientific validation and adoption of risk assessment models for the import and keeping of exotic vertebrates
  • reduce the risk of new vertebrate pests establishing introduced populations in Australia.

Risk assessments conducted for 40 species
The Bomford models in Risk Assessment Models for Establishment of Exotic Vertebrates in Australian and New Zealand (Bomford 2008) were explored for their ability to reasonably predict, across a wide range of species and risk levels, risks of potential pest establishment (in the wild) and adverse impacts. Risk assessments were conducted for Australia for 40 introduced vertebrate species.

Author Marion Massam, Win Kirkpatrick and Amanda Page
Secondary Author Wendy Henderson
Year 2010
Place published Canberra
Publisher Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia
Pages 12 pp (Exec Summary) / 116 pp (full rept)
ISBN/ISSN Web ISBN 978-0-9806716-8-1
Documents
Links http://www.pestsmart.org.au/pest-species/new-emerging/risk/testing-the-bomford-models/

Risk Assessments for exotic reptiles and amphibians introduced to Australia – Pond Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta)

Models for assessing the risk that exotic vertebrates could establish in Australia have been developed for mammals, birds (Bomford 2003; Bomford 2006, 2008), reptiles and amphibians (Bomford 2006, 2008; Bomford et al. 2005). These Risk Assessment models have been further explored by DAFWA to confirm that they reasonably predict public safety, establishment and pest risks across a full range of exotic species and risk levels.

This document describes the risk assessment for the Pond slider (Trachemys scripta), which has been assigned a VPC-endorsed Establishment Risk Rank of EXTREME.
Reptiles and amphibians were assessed for their risk of establishing wild populations in Australia. The Australian Reptile and Amphibian Model and two versions (3-factor, 7-factor) of the Australian Bird and Mammal Model were used.

Reference type Policy Document
Author Amanda Page, Win Kirkpatrick and Marion Massam
Date 15/11/2007
Year 2010
Publisher Government of Western Australia
Institution Department of Agriculture and Food, WA
Department Department of Agriculture and Food
Pages 16 pp
Notes Notes
Region Australia - national
Links http://www.pestsmart.org.au/policy/risk/?
Documents Risk Assessments for exotic reptiles and amphibians introduced to Australia – Pond slider (Trachemys scripta)
Red-Eared-Slider-Turlte

Animal Pest Alert – Red-eared Slider Turtle

The Red-eared Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) is a subspecies of the Pond or Common Slider (T. scripta). It is not native to Australia, but has established isolated populations here as well as in other countries.
The Red-eared Slider has significant potential to spread further in Australia, so it is important to report any found in the wild.

Contains information on identification, distribution, pest potential and risk management.

Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Department of Agriculture and Food, Western Australia
Date null
Year 2009
Publisher Government of Western Australia
Department Department of Agriculture and Food
Pages 4
Notes Notes
ISBN/ISSN No. 6/2009
Region Australia - national
Links

https://www.agric.wa.gov.au/pest-animals/animal-pest-alerts

Documents

Red-eared Slider Turtle

Northern Rivers Region Pest Management Strategy 2008-2011

The development of Regional Pest Management Strategies (RPMS) provides NPWS with a strategic approach to pest management across NSW. The Strategy developed for each region provides a tool to broadly identify pest distribution and their associated Impacts across the park system. It details priorities for each Region, including actions listed in the PAS and TAPs as well as other actions such as wild dog and feral pig control to protect neighbouring properties and site-based weed control and allows resources to be allocated to high priority programs. The RPMS also identifies the requirement for other plans or strategies, such as Wild Dog Plans or Bush Regeneration Plans, that provide a more detailed approach.

New pest species continue to establish in the environment either through the importation of new species into Australia or the escape of domestic plants and animals. Prevention and early detection followed by eradication is the most cost-effective way to minimise the Impacts of new pests. The NPWS works with other agencies to prevent the introduction of new pests into the wild and to respond rapidly when new incursions occur. The response of NSW government agencies to new pests will be coordinated through the NSW Invasive Species Plan.

Reference type Threat Abatement Plan or Management Strategy
Author NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Date null
Year 2008
Publisher NSW Government
Institution NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Department Department of Environment and Climate Change
Pages 107
Notes Notes
Control method Integrated Pest Management
Region NSW
Links http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/RegionPestManagement.htm http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/pestsweeds/NRRegionRPMSSep07.pdf

South Coast Region Draft Pest Management Strategy 2008-2011

The development of Regional Pest Management Strategies (RPMS) provides NPWS with a strategic approach to pest management across NSW. The
strategy developed for each Region provides a tool to broadly identify pest distribution and their associated impacts across the park system. It details priorities for each Region, including actions listed in the PAS and TAPs as well as other actions such as wild dog and feral pig control to protect neighbouring properties and site-based weed control and allows resources to be allocated to high priority programs. The RPMS also identifies the requirement for other plans or strategies, such as Wild Dog Plans or Bush Regeneration Plans that provide a more detailed approach.

New pest species continue to establish in the environment either through the importation of new species into Australia or the escape of domestic plants and animals. Prevention and early detection followed by eradication is the most cost-effective way to minimise the impacts of new pests. The NPWS works with other agencies to prevent the introduction of new pests into the wild and to respond rapidly when new incursions occur. The response of NSW government agencies to new pests will be coordinated through the NSW Invasive Species Plan.

Reference type Threat Abatement Plan or Management Strategy
Author NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Date null
Year 2008
Publisher NSW Government
Institution NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service
Department Department of Environment and Climate Change
Pages 68
Notes Notes
Control method Integrated Pest Management
Region NSW
Links http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/RegionPestManagement.htm http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/pestsweeds/southernRPMNov07.pdf

Protecting our national parks from pests and weeds

Invasive species (weeds and pest animals) represent one of the greatest threats to biodiversity around the world. They also cause financial losses to agriculture and other industries, and damage areas of cultural significance. Managing the impacts
of pests is therefore an issue of great importance for the managers of all land tenures. The problem requires sustained, long-term management to minimise the damage by pests to environmental, economic and social values.

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) manages pests within the state?s park system to protect native flora and fauna, maintain natural ecosystems and cultural heritage, and minimise the spread of pest animals and weeds to and
from neighbouring land. One of the keys to successful pest management is cooperation, and NPWS actively works with other agencies, private landholders and community groups.

The complete eradication of pests over wide areas of different land tenures is, however, rarely practicable. It is therefore necessary to prioritise pest management efforts and allocate resources to those areas where they will be of greatest benefit.
Priorities include those areas where new pest outbreaks occur, where threatened native plants and animals are at risk from the impacts of pests, and where there is a need to minimise the impacts of pests on neighbouring lands, such as farmland.

This report assesses our performance in managing pests within the park system, using data from a survey of all parks in NSW. The report also presents a number of examples and case studies, illustrating the complexity of pest management and highlighting excellence in NPWS pest and weed control programs and initiatives across the state.

Reference type Report
Author Department of Environment and Conservation NSW
Date null
Year 2006
Place published City
Institution Department of Environment and Conservation NSW
Department Department of Environment and Conservation NSW
Pages 48 pp
Notes Notes
ISBN/ISSN ISBN 1 74137 973 3
Region NSW
Links http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/pestsweeds/SoPPestManagement.htm

Have you seen the Red-eared Slider Turtle in the ACT Region?

Please report any sightings of Red-eared Slider Turtles. You may be helping to save waterways for Australian turtles and fish.

This American species is kept illegally in Australia and has become an invasive feral pest in several States. Closely related species are also here illegally. Two Red-eared Slider Turtles have been found in the ACT. One was an escaped pet and the other was living in a dam near the Murrumbidgee River.
It is desirable to prevent this species spreading through the Murray-Darling Basin if possible. Environment ACT is trapping turtles to find out whether there are any more Red-eared Sliders and how far they have spread. Observant people can help too.
Download the identification poster to find out the differences between Red-eared Sliders and local native turtles.

Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Environment ACT
Date null
Year 2005
Publisher Environment ACT
Notes Notes
Region ACT
Links http://www.tams.act.gov.au/live/environment/pestsandweeds/redearedsliderturtle

Investing in conjecture: eradicating the red-eared slider in Queensland

The Red-eared Slider Turtle (REST) (Trachemys scripta elegans) is recognised as a threat to biodiversity when introduced to areas outside its natural range (IUCN/SSC 2004). REST occurs naturally in the Mississippi River (Ernst 1990). Thus, the discovery of two adult, apparently free-ranging animals in Pine Rivers Shire, southeast Queensland, Australia in January 2004 prompted investigation by agencies responsible for vertebrate pest management. Residents found the turtles wandering on a warm, rainy evening following a very dry period. They realised the turtles were unusual, their identity as REST was confirmed.

Three categories of potential risk from the presence of REST were identified: Biodiversity impacts. Studies and observations from parts of the world where REST are naturalised raised concerns that the spread of REST could precipitate a decline in native Australian Chelonians (e.g., Cadi and Joly 2003, 2004). Mechanisms for this could include (a) competition for food and living space. REST have a high reproductive output compared to Australian Chelonians, (b) introduction of exotic reptile diseases (c) impacts on fisheries. REST are omnivorous, and their diet may include fish and crustacean (Parmenter and Avery 1990), and (d) human safety impacts. The extensive trade in hatchling REST (‘penny turtles’) has created a public health risk from the spread of salmonella (Connor 1993; Mermin et al.. 2004). This has resulted in a ban on sale or distribution of hatchling REST in the USA (Connor 1993).

Reference type Conference or Workshop Proceedings
Author O'Keeffe, S.
Date 2005-02-05
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Institution QLD Department of Natural Resources & Mines
Pages 169-176
Region QLD
Documents Download paper

The Red Eared Slider Turtle (Trachemys scripta elegans) in New Zealand

Red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) have been present in New Zealand for over fifty years. In that time at least 110,000 hatchlings have been bred or imported. Importation was banned in 1965 but smuggling was significant until the mid 1980s. Since then, about 2000 animals have been bred in New Zealand for the pet trade each year. Demand always exceeded supply until this year’s negative publicity. Red-eared turtles have strict requirements for survival and growth. Despite their cost high cost, it’s doubtful that survival of hatchlings in captivity exceeds 5-10%. Adult animals that escape, or are released, probably cannot reproduce because of poor fertility, dry summer soils and the low temperatures in New Zealand. Because of these low temperatures, any eggs that do hatch in suitable microclimates will produce exclusively males. Many adult red-ears found in the “wild” are emaciated and infected with ulcerative shell disease, suggesting that animals frequently dies within a few years of escaping captivity. I have been unable to detect evidence of reproduction or colony formation anywhere in NZ. When turtles are discovered in the “wild” they are almost always in warm water habitats previously altered or created by man (drains, farm ponds, weed infested streams). Most of the problems with red-eared slider turtles overseas have occurred in countries where millions were imported and released. This has not been the case in New Zealand. It is doubtful they could have much, if any, impact on unmodified environments in New Zealand.

Reference type Conference or Workshop Proceedings
Author Feldman, M. I.
Date 2005-05-02
Year 2005
Secondary title 13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference
Place published Wellington, NZ
Publisher Landcare Research
Pages 96-101
Region NZ
Links http://www.landcareresearch.co.nz/news/conferences/vertebratepest/VPC_FULLPROGRAMME2.pdf
Documents Download paper

Prohibited pets

Many introduced animals such as the rabbit have become serious pests. Pest animals have damaged Queensland’s environment and economy and, for this reason, the importation and keeping of some animals as pets is prohibited by legislation.

Prohibited animals include mammals, reptiles and amphibians, and fish and birds. Permits to keep declared animals are only available to some organisations, and only for specific purposes.

Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, QLD
Date null
Year 2008
Publisher Queensland Government
Notes Notes
Region QLD
Links http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_8263_ENA_HTML.htm

Red-eared slider turtle

A native of the Mississippi Valley area of the United States, the red-eared slider turtle is now a well-established problem in many parts of the world. It has been nominated among 100 of the “World’s Worst” invaders by the World Conservation Union, and is considered a major threat to biodiversity.
The turtle is very aggressive, and will out-compete native species for food and space in our waterways and lake systems. Large specimens can inflict a painful bite.
The turtle has few natural predators in Australia and is a Class 1 declared pest animal.
If you think you have seen one of these turtles, or have one in your possession, please contact the Department of Natural Resources and Mines on 1800 999 367.

Reference type Fact Sheet
Author Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, QLD
Date null
Year 2008
Publisher Queensland Government
Notes Notes
Region QLD
Links http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/cps/rde/dpi/hs.xsl/4790_8289_ENA_HTML.htm