Red eared slider turtles or REST originally come from USA and north-eastern Mexico but have now spread across the world and are considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as one of the world’s worst invasive species. REST outcompete native turtles and freshwater animals for food and habitat and also carry salmonella bacterium which can be transferred to humans. Traditionally the turtles have been spread by the pet industry but due to their long lifespan, rapid growth and the habit of biting their owners, they are often discarded into freshwater creeks, ponds and streams where they form viable populations and continue to spread.
Red Eared Slider Turtles and the Sutherland Shire
REST have now established multiple populations across Sydney and in the Sutherland Shire are currently located at Audley in the Royal National Park, presenting a significant risk to native animals in the area. Other than this population there has been no evidence of REST occurring in the Sutherland Shire although constant vigilance is required to ensure we keep the area free as significant populations exist in other parts of Sydney and have the potential to invade the Sutherland Shire.
Sutherland Shire Council are currently involved in a Red Eared Slider Turtle committee which works closely with Local Land Services and involves all local government areas completing monitoring programs, education awareness campaigns and assisting with REST control research.
What to do if you see a red eared slider turtle or know of someone who keeps one as a pet?
Demonstrating the Biosecurity risk this species presents, it is illegal to own this species under the Biosecurity Act 2015. If you see a REST or if you or someone you know own one as a pet please contact Sutherland Shire Councils Invasive Species Officer immediately on 9710 0333 or report it to the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) on the link below.
Information and documents
- Report a REST to DPI
- For more information on REST including images, legislation and the impacts they have.
Policies and documents
Feral Animal and Wildlife Protection Policy
Enquiries can be directed to Invasive Species Officer on 9710 0333 or firstname.lastname@example.org