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Pets and invasion risks: is the Slider turtle strictly carnivorous?

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According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), invasive species are one of the most important causes of biodiversity decline at a global scale. The impact of introduced species on local ecosystems is thus important to evaluate. Pet voluntary introductions are made by private people and usually concern only one or two individuals per occasion. However, the number of release occasions is as numerous as the number of pet owners that don't want to keep their pet anymore and then decide to "release" it. Hatchling red-eared slider turtles (Trachemys scripta elegans) have been massively exported from the United States to European (until 1997) and Asian countries to be sold as pets. Many owners, ignoring the potential consequences of their act, have released their grown up turtle in natural freshwater ecosystems. As a consequence, feral adult turtles have been detected all over France. In this paper, we provide information that contradicts public opinion that introduced slider turtle is strictly carnivorous. By analysing the diet of feral adult turtles, we found that adult slider turtles are omnivorous, as in their natural areas.


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