BAD TURTLE: A red-eared slider turtle was discovered in Bundaberg in mid-April.
BAD TURTLE: A red-eared slider turtle was discovered in Bundaberg in mid-April. Contributed

Dangerous species of turtle discovered in Qld

A BIOSECURITY Queensland investigation and surveillance program is underway after an invasive and aggressive species of turtle was found in Bundaberg.

A red-eared slider turtle was discovered at an Avoca property in mid-April after reports of a stranded turtle to council.

The species of reptile is native to the United States and will out-compete native turtles for food and space.

They can also carry diseases.

It is also listed as one of the world's 100 most invasive alien species with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Red-eared sliders are a freshwater turtle which can grow up to 30cm long and have a distinctive red stripe behind each eye.

They also have fine yellow streaks and lines on their head, neck, legs and have pale yellow undersides with dark smudges or swirls.

Bundaberg Regional Council environment portfolio spokesman Cr Wayne Honor said the red-eared slider turtle was listed as a restricted invasive animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.

"Fortunately the resident who found the turtle, which had made its way into their backyard, reported it immediately to Council and the Department of Fisheries and Agriculture," Cr Honor said.

"While this particular turtle was diminutive in size, this species has the potential to have a disastrous effect on native turtle populations.

"Council's land protection officers responded and collected the turtle from the resident."

As required by Biosecurity Queensland, positive identification of the red-eared slider turtle was established before it was humanely euthanised by a vet.

It has now been provided to Biosecurity Queensland for DNA analysis to determine if it was related to a known population in Burpengary.

Cr Honor said the swift response and identification was an example of how seriously council takes its Biosecurity responsibility.

"Biosecurity Queensland and council land protection officers are now working together towards identifying any further infestations."

All suspected sightings of red-eared slider turtles must be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours.

If possible, anyone who discovers a suspected invasive turtle species should immediately take steps to minimise the risk of them escaping.

If anyone has information in relation to red-eared sliders that can assist investigations, they're asked to call Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.