Red-eared terrapin: Biological control using native predators
Overall effectiveness category Awaiting assessment
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
A study in the USA provided a strong indication that racoons feed on adult red-eared terrapins Trachemys scripta in their native range, with female terrapins smaller than 200mm in plastron length at particularly high risk (Tucker et al. 1999).
Although hatchlings of red-eared terrapins could conceivably be eaten by a few native UK species including otters (e.g. European otter Lutra lutra), herons (e.g. grey heron Ardea cinerea), rodents or corvids, or even introduced species like the American mink Neovison vison, once adult this species would have few natural enemies in the UK (Bringsøe 2006; Wilkinson 2012).
Successful reproduction of red-eared terrapins has not been recorded in the UK (Scalera 2006). As native UK predators are unlikely to be large enough to eat adult terrapins it is unlikely that population control using natural predators could deliver a control mechanism for UK populations.
Bringsøe H. (2006) Trachemys scripta. NOBANIS – Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet. European Network on Invasive Alien Species, 13pp.
Scalera R. (2006) Fact sheet on Trachemys scripta. Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE). 4pp.
Tucker J.K., Filoramo N.I. & Janzen F.J. (1999) Size-based mortality due to predation in a nesting freshwater turtle, Trachemys scripta. American Midland Naturalist, 141, 198-203.
Wilkinson J. (2012) Red-eared Terrapin, Trachemys scripta. GB Non-Native Species Secretariat. Sand Hutton, UK. 3pp.