They're back - terrible terrapins invade beautiful Bystock

PUBLISHED: 10:52 14 August 2019

A terrapin has been spotted at Bystock. Picture: Getty Images/Terry Ife

A terrapin has been spotted at Bystock. Picture: Getty Images/Terry Ife

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An unwanted four-legged reptile has again invaded the eco-system of an Exmouth beauty spot.

An 'irresponsible individual' has dumped an adult terrapin, which is not native to the UK, at the Bystock Pools nature reserve.

Landowner Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) had hoped the last terrapin had been removed from Bystock in September last year.

The charity will now have to spend money capturing and removing the terrapin, which eats dragonfly nymphs and other water living insects native to the nature reserve.

According to DWT, the reptiles feast on the lake's insect larvae.

Stephen Hussey, of Devon Wildlife Trust, said: "We're disappointed at the news of the sighting of an adult terrapin at our Bystock Pools nature reserve.

"It seems that once again an irresponsible individual has chosen to release their unwanted pet into this precious wildlife haven.

"In recent years our staff have spent a lot of time and money undertaking the difficult task of capturing and removing other terrapins from the nature reserve's lake."

In July 2018, the Journal reported that two terrapins had been 'humanely removed' from Bystock and the final member of the colony was captured three months later.

The removed reptiles were believed to be a mix of red-eared terrapins, yellow-bellied sliders and false map turtles.

These 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

Mr Hussey said: "We thought we had rid the nature reserve of terrapins after capturing the last of a small population which existed there.

"This is what makes this latest development so unwelcome.

"We will now attempt to remove this animal.

"Releasing non-native species like terrapins into the countryside is against the law.

"It's also damaging to existing wildlife.

"Terrapins and will consume many of the dragonfly nymphs and other water living insects that help to make Bystock such a wonderful place for native wildlife."

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