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King snake, turtle and terrapin sightings spark wildlife concerns on IoM

The king snake was discovered yesterday in Douglas. Photo: MSPCA

A number of reptiles have been spotted roaming on the Isle of Man in unlikely places.

Local charity ManxSPCA posted a photo of a king snake via its Facebook page.

It was found in the car park at the NSC in Douglas yesterday, after reports from weeks before of sightings.

Anyone who might know who it belongs to have been asked to call the MSPCA on 851672, ext 3 and leave a message.

Meanwhile, a soft bodied turtle was found at Injebreck Reservoir last week by Manx Wildlife Trust.

Soft-bodied turtle near Injebreck Reservoir. Credit: Manx Wildlife Trust

The charity says there have also been terrapin sightings at Scarlett and Ballaugh in and near waterways and ponds.

Manx Wildlife Trust say that the creatures have no natural predators to control their numbers and as such will become the top of the food chain in a pond and will eat any water plants - meaning less for native species as well as depleting oxygen levels within the ponds.

They will also consume frogspawn, frogs, invertebrates such as dragonfly larvae and larger specimens may even consume ducklings.

Terrapins and turtles may carry harmful fungus, and could spread Hexamita protozoan to birds and the deadly Ranavirus to frogs. If you see a turtle or terrapin in the wild please follow the advice given at www.manxspca.com/wild-animals.

MWT advise to contain the animal in a box and take it straight to the nearest vet for immediate treatment.

Notify the MSPCA so it can be recovered and notify the Manx Wildlife Trust and/or DEFA of your find.

This is a cause for concern on two counts, one for the negative impact it will have on our native wildlife and on the second count to the stress and suffering it can cause these creatures, many of which would not survive an island winter. They are also more likely to succumb to respiratory diseases and hypothermia. Releasing them into the wild is to subject them to a cruel death. We are urging the public to think very carefully about buying a terrapin or turtle for a pet, they can live for 25 years and certainly grow to a much larger size than the little coin sized specimen you bought from the pet shop.

– Manx Wildlife Trust