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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007, 10:20 GMT 11:20 UK
Feral terrapins to be rounded up
Red-eared terrapin. Picture by Liz Barrett.
The terrapins are an invasive species
Up to 150 terrapin turtles which have been terrorising wildlife in Hampstead Heath are to be rounded up.

The non-native creatures feed on worms, fish and even ducklings, said rangers in the north London park.

The Heath authorities were planning to airlift them to Italy, but now a private collector from Norfolk has offered to take them.

The invasion of terrapins in the UK has been linked to the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles craze of the early 1990s.

Heavy fine

Originally from America, terrapins are bought as pets and later released into the wild as they can grow up to a foot long.

"They live off the native wildlife, eating worms, fish and some ducklings," said Rob Renwick, of the City of London Corporation which owns Hampstead Heath.

"It is estimated that there are up to 150 of these non-native species living in the ponds."

He said there was a 5,000 fine for anyone caught releasing terrapins into the water.

Experts said UK waters were too cold for the terrapins to reproduce but climate change could change that.

Feral terrapins terrorise ducks
10 Aug 05 |  London

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