Pets Gone Wild, Red Eared Slider Turtles in Vancouver
When I visited Vancouver's Stanley Park we saw lots of wonderful wildlife, however some of the animals we saw were not native to the area. The turtles in Lost Lagoon are native to the southern United States.
My Trip to Vancouver
I visited Vancouver in July of 2012, although only there for a few days I made a point of visiting Stanley Park each day we were there. Perhaps you have already read my article about seeing the raccoons or a beautiful great blue heron.
Stanley Park is very large, with massive trees, and nearly all the way surrounded by water. Lost Lagoon is a large pond in one area of Stanley Park. When I was there the weather was great and there were a number of red-eared slider turtles sunning themselves on the logs or rocks in the Lagoon.
Red Eared Sliders
The turtles found in the Lost Lagoon of Stanley Park are red-eared sliders. They were given this name because they have a red marking behind their eyes, and when scared they just “slide” off the rock or log and disappear into the water. There are also yellow-eared sliders too.
When walking by the Lost Lagoon I saw many of these turtles, if I had a better camera I would have taken a picture of at least six them piled up on a log together basking in the warm sun, but as it happened I was still able to get a few pictures of the turtles closer up. As cold blooded animals, they need to rest in the sun to get warm and to digest their food.
Red-eared slider turtles do not have saliva so they must have water to soften their food so they can eat. They are omnivores, often eating more meat as youngsters, and more plant matter as adults.
Abandoned Unwanted Pets
Red-eared slider turtles are sometimes kept as pets, but it is illegal to catch one in the park and take it home, as it would also be illegal to release an unwanted pet turtle into the park.
The red-eared slider turtle is considered an invasive species and should never be released anywhere into the wild. You will note these turtles are not native to the area, or Canada in general, so at one point they would have been introduced to the park, either by pet owners who discarded unwanted turtles in the area, or having somehow escaped from captivity.
Females red-eared slider turtles grow slightly larger than males, reaching just over one foot in length (30 cm). They can live up to 30 years, a major consideration for anyone thinking of getting one as a pet.
Do you Like Animals?
Here is an article on Jellyfish at the Vancouver Aquarium.
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