ST. PAUL, Minn. - Wildlife managers want pet owners to find permanent homes for unwanted turtles rather than setting them free.
One of the most common pet-trade turtles is the red-eared slider. They're often sold as cute, little hatchlings but grow rapidly and eventually need a large space to roam.
Christopher Smith, nongame wildlife biologist with the Department of Natural Resources, says they're not native to Minnesota. But he says released and escaped red-eared sliders have been documented to survive the winter in Minnesota waters. And he says they may compete with native turtles - including the threatened Blanding's turtle - for food, nesting sites and choice basking areas.
The DNR says unwanted animals should be gifted to schools or park naturalists, or given to local humane or nonprofit societies that specialize in them.