Turtle swims in unusual waters

22:30, Nov 14 2012
Listen buddy: Marlborough District Council biosecurity officer Jono Underwood doesn’t want to see any more pets like Terry the turtle released into waterways.

A turtle found in the Omaka River near Blenheim has prompted the Marlborough District Council to remind people not to tip unwanted pets from their aquariums into the wild.

Council environmental scientist Peter Hamill said a Department of Conservation employee found the turtle, which had since been nicknamed Terry, upstream of the Malthouse Reserve in the Riverlands area.

Unwanted aquatic pets and waterweed should never be disposed of into waterways, Mr Hamill said.

"Don't let your ornamental pet become a monumental problem."

Terry could have survived in the Omaka but would probably not have bred there because it was too cold, he said. This was the first time Mr Hamill knew of a turtle being found in a waterway in Blenheim but he had heard reports of sightings at the Grovetown Lagoon and just below the Opawa bridge.

Anyone who found a creature which did not belong in a river, stream or lake should let the council know and could try to catch it, Mr Hamill said.


Strictly speaking Terry was a red-eared slider - a type of terrapin and not a turtle, Mr Hamill said. These animals were widely sold in pet shops and could occasionally escape.

Mr Hamill has not yet decided Terry's fate. Meanwhile, he is living the high life in a make-shift aquarium at the council offices and being fed on a diet that includes cat food and broccoli.


The Marlborough Express