The red-eared slider is included in the list of the world’s 100 most invasive species. Courtesy photo
By LYNN HANRAHAN
Anyone who reads the Los Alamos Daily Post sees the cute picture of the Ashley Pond turtle basking in the sun on a log now and then. Yesterday my daughters noticed several more turtles swimming around our town pond. I can only assume these poor turtles are cast off pets who outgrew their owners capacity to care for them.
They are red eared sliders — an invasive species in much of North America. People buy them at pet stores when they are little and cute but after a couple of years they grow as big as a large dinner plate and without state of the art tanks — about as big as a bathtub they usually don’t smell very good.
We took in Pete and Penelope, a neighbor’s turtles several years ago. They are beloved members of our family but also expensive to maintain and a lot of work. Their tank is in the laundry room where our clothes dryer used to be. We use a clothes line now. I tease the children about who will someday inherit them as their life expectancy is 70 years.
Please do not abandon your pets. Ashley Pond is FAR from an ideal environment for one of these turtles. If you must adopt a turtle as a pet, please consider an older turtle. On Craigslist in Northern New Mexico you can easily find about a dozen turtles in need of a family.