Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

New report of an alligator snapping turtle (Macrochelys temminckii Troost, 1835) introduced into the wild in the Republic of Korea.

Abstract

Alligator snapping turtles (Macrochelys temminckii Troost, 1835), Chelydridae, is native to the United States and is popular as a pet in many countries despite its large size and inclusions in CITES (Appendix III). On October 15, 2019, an alligator snapping turtle was found at the bottom of a stream in Gwangju, Republic of Korea. The turtle measured 310 mm in carapace length and weighed 7.6 kg. We presumed the shortest distance moved by this turtle was 1.54 km by stream or 1.26 km by land. This is the third record of an alligator snapping turtle in Korea. The first was reported in 2011 and the second in 2014. These repeated sightings of alligator snapping turtles suggest that more individuals are likely to be found in the wild in the Republic of Korea. We highlight the management problems of non-native species, including the alligator snapping turtle, starting with a lack of monitoring species that are imported into the country to inadequate surveys undertaken in the wild across the country.