Mutant teenage turtles
TWO dangerous turtles with jaws so strong they can sever fingers and toes have been found among an illegal backyard collection in Sydney.
In one of the biggest reptile raids this year, authorities descended upon a home in Milperra last week to find almost 100 turtles believed to have been imported from America.
The collection included 90 red-eared slider turtles and two alligator snapping turtles.
Found in the murky waters of the Mississippi River, alligator turtles are dangerous due to their sharp-edged jaws, which are capable of crushing or severing fingers.
While the pair seized in the raid weighed 8.6kg and 13.7kg, fully grown individuals have been recorded at 90kg.
NSW Department of Primary Industries acting deputy director-general of Biosecurity and Food Safety, Brett Fifield, said the turtle posed a serious biosecurity risk, being capable of passing on diseases to both native animals and livestock.
He said the seizure was a good example of “citizen-led biosecurity” with the raid following a tip-off.