‘Alien’ terrapins removed from Bystock

PUBLISHED: 13:36 10 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:36 10 July 2018

Bystock Pools nature reserve. Picture: Simon Williams

Bystock Pools nature reserve. Picture: Simon Williams


‘Alien’ terrapins which have been reaping havoc on wildlife at an Exmouth beauty spot have been removed.

Landowner Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) have revealed that two terrapins – a reptile species not native to the UK – have been ‘humanely trapped’ and removed from Bystock Pools nature reserve.

The creatures were part of a small colony of reptiles which have been living at Bystock for more than 10 years. The reason for their appearance at the nature reserve is unknown but it is believed that they were dumped as unwanted pets.

According to DWT, the reptiles have been feasting on the lake’s insect larvae including dragonflies and damselflies.

It is also believed the terrapins are responsible for the disappearance of ducklings along with the chicks of other water birds.

Devon Wildlife Trust’s Edric Hopkinson manages Bystock Pools, He said: “I am delighted that we have caught two of the terrapins.

“They have been causing a bit of a headache for our management of this beautiful nature reserve.

“The creatures have proved to be very difficult to catch in such a large waterbody as that found at Bystock Pools.

“I am pleased that our efforts to capture them have so far been successful and that the animals can now live in a wildlife sanctuary where they will be well looked after for the rest of their lives.

“I look forward to seeing the natural balance of our native flora and fauna in this biodiverse waterbody begin to be restored.” The terrapins living at Bystock Pools are a mix of red-eared terrapins and yellow-bellied sliders, both species are native to the southern states of the USA but alien to the UK.

As a non-native species they are listed under the European Union’s Invasive Alien Species Regulation and it is against the law for them to be released into the wild in the UK.

It is believed that there are still ‘two or three’ terrapins living in the reserve and Devon Wildlife Trust is trying to rid Bystock of the creatures.

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