USUALLY found in the wetlands of Florida, the yellow-bellied slider turtle is not a species you would expect to find in a Limerick waterway better known for its trout and salmon.
But, on June 18, Inland Fisheries officers were called out after such a unusual discovery was made in the River Maigue near Adare. A male yellow-bellied slider turtle, more at home in subtropical US States, was found in good physical condition in the Maigue’s tidal waters.
It is likely the turtle either escaped by accident or was purposely released.
Popular as pets, they thrive in warm climates and the Adare turtle was said to have been “enjoying the current good weather conditions”.
On a more serious note, the fishery officers say it is now becoming more common to find non-native species in Irish waterways and this causes problems if they breed and become established, thereby threatening native plants, animals and ecosystems. They can also suffer great hardship and die in unsuitable habitat and cold weather.
The turtle was brought to the Limerick Animal Welfare shelter in Kilfinane.
Director at Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) Limerick, Amanda Mooney is now urging the public to be more conscious when purchasing exotic species for pets.
IFI run a 24-hour confidential hotline where anyone can report any discovery of an alien species at 1850 FISH 24 or 1890 34 74 24.