11 hours ago
The Story of the Roath Lake Terrapins.
In the early 1990s, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle craze led to millions of terrapins being imported into the UK as pets. Although tiny when young, these terrapins quickly grow too large to accommodate. This resulted in many owners dumping their terrapins in ponds and lakes across the country.
In 1997, there were estimated to be 800 terrapins living in the wild, with the largest concentration found in Roath Park Lake in Cardiff, where over 100 were believed to reside. These terrapins typically originated from the southern United States and as such are considered invasive species in Britain. They prey on fish, frogs, newts and even ducklings, and have no natural predator.
As a result, there are now restrictions on the importation of terrapins, and many of those which escaped into the wild have been caught and translocated to more suitable colonies. Some of the terrapins at Roath Lake now live safe inside the park's tropical conservatory. But as these photos show, invasive terrapins are still present in the lake itself, having managed to survive through many cold British winters.
The terrapins in these photos are Red-eared Sliders (Trachemys scripta elegans), the most commonly traded turtle in the world, and one of the world's most invasive species. It is feared that continued global warming may allow these invasive terrapins to breed more successfully. (Matt 📸)
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