Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

New record of the non-native snapping turtle Chelydra serpentina (Linnaeus, 1758) in the wild of the Republic of Korea.

Abstract

Recent advances in transportation and expansion of the pet trade have increased the influx of non-native species into the Republic of Korea. Many of these non-native species have been introduced into the wild through release by humans. The introduction of non-native species can cause ecosystem disturbances, as well as a variety of social and economic problems. On 20 March 2019, a non-native turtle was found in a wet rice paddy and identified as a male snapping turtle, Chelydra serpentina. The carapace length and body weight of the specimen were 32.3 cm and 7.46 kg, respectively. The turtle was located underground, in a wet rice paddy and was hooked by tractors during plowing of the paddy. The closest reservoirs, where the turtle may have inhabited previously, were located between 300 m and 640 m from the discovery site. The four nearby reservoirs were surveyed, but no turtles were found. If the snapping turtle can survive in the wild of Korea, it would predate upon native species, thereby leading to negative impacts to the local ecosystem. Therefore, rapid responses, for example policy changes, are needed to reduce risk caused by the introduction of non-native turtles, including Chelydra serpentina..