Last terrapin removed from Exmouth beauty spot

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 September 2018

Caught at last - it is hoped this false map turtle is the last of a colony of non-native reptiles who were living at Bystock Nature Reserve. Picture: Devon Wildlife Trust

Caught at last - it is hoped this false map turtle is the last of a colony of non-native reptiles who were living at Bystock Nature Reserve. Picture: Devon Wildlife Trust

Archant

The final member of a group of ‘alien’ terrapins which have been wreaking havoc on wildlife at an Exmouth beauty spot has been removed according to Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT).

The landowner has revealed that the last terrapin – a false map turtle – has been ‘humanely trapped’ and removed from Bystock Nature Reserve.

The creature – which is not indigenous to the UK – was part of a small colony of reptiles that have been living in Bystock for a number of years.

Steven Hussey of DWT says they are hoping that the saga to remove the terrapins is now over, adding: “We humanely caught and re-homed what we believe to be the last terrapin at Bystock Pools nature reserve. It was in fact a false map turtle.

“In all we have, over the past few years, captured and re-homed seven terrapins/turtles – it’s been a long, time-consuming and costly operation for our charity, but it should mean the reserve’s native wildlife is better conserved as a result.

“We hope that this will be the end of the story and that people won’t dump further unwanted pets in this reserve or any others.”

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 chicks of other water birds.

Back in July, The Journal reported that two terrapins had been ‘humanely removed’ from Bystock and this latest one looks to be the last of the ‘colony’.

The reptiles living at Bystock were believed to be 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.

The false map turtle is a species which is also indigenous to the United States.

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.

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