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|
|Region||Australia - national|
|Documents||Red-eared Slider Turtles in Australia and New Zealand (3.3kb)|