RED-EARED SLIDER TURTLE
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- Much to the surprise of animal experts, the Mexican Giant Turtle, also known as the Red Eared Slider was found in West Bengal’s Howrah district. Native to Mexico, South America, and the Mississippi River, its appearance in the Bengal region has puzzled the experts.
- The red-eared slider or red-eared terrapin is the most popular pet turtle in the United States, is also popular as a pet across the rest of the world, and is the most invasive turtle.
- It is the most commonly traded turtle in the world.
- It is native from the Midwestern United States to northern Mexico, but has become established in other places because of pet releases, and has become invasive in many areas where it outcompetes native species.
- The red-eared slider is included in the list of the world's 100 most invasive species.
- Its scientific name is ‘Trachemys scripta elegans’ and it is known for its bright red circular or oblong spots near its ears.
- Their physical growth is rapid courtesy of their voracious diet. One of the subspecies of the Red Eared Slider is the snapping turtle, which can weigh up to 100 kg.
- Zoologists suggest that this turtle species may have originated in the Middle Jurassic period, evolved from Testudians and gradually adapted into today’s red-eared sliders.
- They inhabit ponds, small water bodies, and freshwater lakes and can adapt to any environment quickly. Fish and other aquatic animals struggle to survive in areas inhabited by these turtles.
Is it harmful?
- Environmentalists and animal experts consider the Mexican Giant Turtle the most destructive among the seven turtle species found in the world.
- A carrier of the Salmonella bacteria, this species poses a threat to both aquatic animals and humans. Salmonella infection can lead to diarrhoea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and fever.
- Long-term effects can cause metabolic cell damage in the human body, with potentially disastrous consequences.
Invasive status in India
- Red-eared slider turtles are threatening to invade the natural water bodies across northeast India, which are home to 21 out of 29 vulnerable native Indian species of freshwater turtle.
- NGO "Help Earth" found red-eared sliders in the Deepor Beel wildlife sanctuary and Ugratara Devalaya temple pond.
- Further reports have been made from an unnamed stream, feeding into the Tlawng river, on a farm in the Mizoram capital, Aizawl.
- The first Red Eared Slider was spotted in Bengal in 2015 in a Rajarhat reservoir. Another was seen in Rabindra Sarovar five years later in 2020. This is the third time the Red-Eared Slider has appeared in West Bengal.
- The turtle was first observed in India in Kerala’s Kolthode canal, where the Kerala Forest Research Institute rescued and monitored it.
Q) Which of the following statements with reference to Mexican Giant Turtle is/are incorrect?
a. It is the most destructive among the seven turtle species found in the world.
b. This species poses a threat to both aquatic animals and humans.
Correct Answer: 4