Mu­tant teenage tur­tles

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS -

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.

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