Spanish fish live in fear of predator turtles
13 September 2005, MADRID — They may look cute, but the growing number of aggressive turtles are threatening Spain's aquatic wildlife.
13 September 2005
MADRID — They may look cute, but the growing number of aggressive turtles are threatening Spain's aquatic wildlife.
Researchers fear these red-eared slider turtles may be killing off fish in ponds across the country, the Spanish daily El Pais reported.
They studied how numbers of carp and sea bream in the Juan Carlos I park in Madrid were falling.
They discovered at one point, dozens of carp were lying dead at the bottom of the pond — victims of these aggressive turtles.
The red-eared sliders are popular pets but particularly aggressive in the wild, fighting mercilessly with less voracious aquatic species.
The trachemys genus arrived in Europe from the Americas about two decades ago.
Their strength and long life-spans made them popular pets, but the problem came when they were released into the wild.
They are much bigger and stronger than the Spanish species.
An expert at Madrid's Complutense University said the population of native Spanish turtles has fallen because of the rise of the foreign invader.
The red-eared sliders are now common in rivers around Madrid and along the Mediterranean coast, from Andalusia to Catalonia.
Subject: Spanish news