Slider terrpains management resources

© NNSS

The information on this page relates to available management measures for slider terrapins – trachemys scripta. Please visit the slider terrapin species account for more general information on this sub-species.

Legislation mentioned in the following resources may not necessarily apply to Northern Ireland, but may relate to GB or Ireland. Not all legislation may be listed and will inevitably change from time to time. It is the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they are aware of and follow all legislation relevant to work carried out and any changes to it.


The following information provides a brief summary of available management measures, for further details see;

Considerations prior to putting management measures in place

  • Prior to commencing any trapping or netting, arrangements must be made with a vet to humanely euthanize any captured slider terrapins. Written confirmation and receipt of the euthanization should be kept and forwarded on to NIEA Invasive Species Team if requested.
  • Under the Invasive Alien Species (Permitting and enforcement) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019, slider terrapins cannot be re-homed.
  • Terrapin sliders are known carriers of salmonella, therefore adequate protection must be taken when handling specimens.
  • Once a slider terrapin has been captured, under The Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order (Northern Ireland) 2019 it is an offence to release it back into the environment and therefore it must be dispatched. Any captured non-target species that is not an invasive non-native species (included on ‘Schedule 9’ and on the ‘List of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern’) must be released immediately.

Monitoring

  • Slider terrapins regularly bask in sunny spots out of the water, e.g. rocks, logs, margins of waterbodies etc. It is important to first monitor the waterbody, not only to confirm the presence of slider terrapins but also to determine their preferred or commonly used basking locations.
  • Slider terrapins are active April – October, visiting or inspecting water bodies during periods of warm sunshine may increase the likelihood of spotting them. If possible, the use of trails cameras can be beneficial in monitoring particular areas of the waterbody.
  • Once their presence has been confirmed and common basking sites determined, management moves on to the removal.

Removal
The following provides a brief summary of some available management measures, see IUCN datasheet and RAPID Good Practice Management document for greater detail and further management measures.

Traps and nets

  • It is recommend to place traps in late spring and summer, when the slider terrapins are active and regularly basking. Trapping during the winter is ineffective as slider terrapins brumate (state of dormancy).
  • It will likely take a period of time before slider terrapins are accustomed to the new basking areas (traps).
  • Once set, traps can operate continuously until the autumn or the individual/s has been captured.
  • To maintain high animal welfare standards and avoid any breeches of the Welfare of Animals (NI) Act 2011 traps must be checked at least once every 24 hours, ideally twice daily. Therefore if the trap cannot be checked at least once every 24 hours it should be removed or sealed closed.

Floating traps

  • A floating tethered trap is comprised of a floating cage with a slippery inside frame from which the slider terrapins cannot climb out. Cork plates can be attached to the trap, as slider terrapins like to bask on this kind of substrate, this has proven to be effective in attracting them. The traps are tethered to the banks in the location/s you think the turtles are most likely to frequent.
  • There are various designs of floating trap available, e.g. the sundeck turtle trap and the Bolue trap. Many of the traps are of simple construction and an internet search will provide construction instructions and videos.
  • Sometimes traps can be baited, but this is not advisable if there are other species at the location that could also be trapped. The floating platform itself is usually a draw to the turtles especially if they are placed in the basking spots already used by the turtles.
Floating trap (Aranzadi Turtle Trap). Left: trap before being placed on the river. Right: a turtle Trachemys scripta elegans captured in the trap (© Aitor Valdeón from Valdeón et al. 2010).
Floating trap © Tony Gamble CC BY-SA 3.0

 

 


Netting

  • Slider terrapins can be trapped with a variety of nets and funnel-traps: minnow, seine, fyke, Cathedral, and crayfish traps. Funnel-type traps (fyke, Cathedral, and crayfish traps ) must be set partially-submerged to avoid the captured animals drowning.
  • The main drawback of netting for slider terrapins is the potential capture of non-target species, e.g. fish, eels, otters etc. This approach can be very labour intensive as nets will require frequent checking and releasing of non-target species.
Inspecting fyke net for slider terrapins – CC BY 2.0

Physical removal by hand

  • Although slider terrapins can be easily disturbed, if rushed it may be possible to capture them by hand or dip net.

Preventing future introductions

  • Consideration must be given to raising awareness of the impacts of releasing invasive non-native species. Slider terrapins are mostly likely released into waterbodies as unwanted pets, social media posts and signage around the water body can help highlight the ecological and legal impacts.
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland