Invasive Transport Systems-June 14, 2015

Turtle 1Turtle 2

It’s that time of year again; the turtles are out and about on dry land, finding the perfect spot to dig a hole and lay their eggs.  In particular I’ve been seeing the pre-historic-looking snapping turtles on dry land among our numerous lakes.

During most of the year the secretive snapping turtles go about their business, remaining in the waters of the many lakes, but now they come ashore to propagate their species.  As I see them walking around on the dry land between our lakes, I notice most of them have quite an array of hitchhiking organisms on their shells.  I wonder if perhaps they might transport such unwelcome riders as zebra mussels or Eurasian milfoil.  I don’t think the Department of Natural Resources is checking these turtles and demanding that they clean their shells before returning to the water of some lake.  Maybe we should require these turtles to be certified through some education program or at least make sure they are licensed to launch on our lakes.

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