A red-eared loggerhead, a type of tortoise native to the United States, was found in a home in Zaragoza do Sul, northern Santa Catarina. The animal was rescued on Friday (29) and sent to the Wildlife Observatory in Florianopolis.
According to biologist Christian Raboch, because it is an exotic species, If reptiles breed in this area it will cause ecological imbalance. It is suspected that the turtle found in the city was released by a citizen who bought it.
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“These are very small, matchbox-sized species that people buy. But the animal grows, the mess, the person has to buy water and feed,” he said.
Fundaçção Jaraguaense de Meio Ambiente (Fujama) rescued the animal after it was called by a resident who found it. “She called us saying it was an animal she hadn’t found around naturally and she knew it would be exotic,” he explained.
Tortoise found at home in Zaragoza do Sul – Photo: Reproduction/Christian Raboch
According to biologists, there are two species of water leopards found in Brazil. One of them, the yellow-eared, is native to Argentina and the Rio Grande do Sul. The red-eared one, on the other hand, hails from America.
“People sell these two breeds on farms and people buy them. But if you’re going to buy any of these animals, you have to buy them from a legal breeder, otherwise it’s considered an illegal animal,” he warned. .
Animals cannot be released
Since the reptiles found in Santa Catarina grow large with their pups, many people who get a small animal release it when it grows up. However, this practice can cause problems for the environment.
“It creates an ecological imbalance because this species does not occur naturally here and is a species that feeds on other animals as well,” he said. For this reason, these reptiles cannot be released into the wild in Santa Catarina..
“When we rescue a species of leopard, regardless of whether it is yellow or red-eared, we cannot release it. We capture these animals and send them to the Wild Animal Screening Center in Florianopolis. There, depending on the species, they send them to zoos or breeding grounds. Yellow-eared as the species. If there are, we can send them to Rio Grande do Sul to create release points”.
The species is omnivorous, that is, it can eat both meat and vegetables. Prey is usually fish and amphibians.
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