Exotic pets pitched out in Ansonia.
Recently someone dumped three turtles in a pond out behind the Ansonia Nature Center.
Just last month, it became illegal to import those Red-eared slider turtles into our state.
The executive director at the Ansonia Nature Center says it’s a recurring problem.
They’ve had animals dumped here before.
She says not only is it irresponsible of the pet owners, but in this case, it’s not good for the turtles.
That’s because they’re not native to this area.
Popping their heads out of the water, you can see the distinct markings that give the Red-eared slider turtles their names.
Alison Rubelmann, the director at the Anosmia Nature Center says that lengthy lifespan is probably one of the reasons why 3 of the reptiles were recently dumped at the center’s pond.
“I think it’s very irresponsible because if you become a pet owner, you have to be responsible and keep that pet as long as it will live,” said Rubelmann.
While they start out small, these turtles can grow to a foot long.
Kids get them as pets, they get older and eventually don’t want them anymore.
“If you’re going to buy an animal for your child, make sure you know how old this animal is going to be, what type of care it needs, what type of food it needs, what type of lights it needs,” said Rubelmann.
Another issue, the Red-eared sliders are typically found down south.
“Because they’re not a native turtle, they’re not from Connecticut, they can’t survive the cold winters we have here in CT,” Rubelmann said.
Rubelmann says it’s not just turtles.
They’ve had other pets dumped before.
In fact, the nature center’s rabbit was left in the parking lot years ago.
It’s why they have a sign right on the front door telling people not to leave animals, but it still happens.
Last month Governor Malloy signed a bill that would make it illegal for anyone to import Red-eared sliders into the state or release them into the wild.
That’s because these turtles can be a nuisance, competing with native turtles for food and places to live.
Anyone convicted of doing just that could face a $500 fine and up to 3 months in prison.
As for the nature center’s three newest members, they’re working with a national group that rescues this specific species, hoping to one day eventually get them back home.
“What they do is, they put them in a holding facility, make sure they’re healthy, don’t have any bacteria, salmonella and that they can feed on their own and then re-introduce them into their native habitat,” said Rubelmann.
The nature center stresses just don’t dump them, call their center or the Beardsley Zoo, both can help place animals.
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