In Otter News: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

In Otter News: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

The red eared slider turtle is actually an invasive species.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles didn’t just have a big impact at the box office, Dan Johnson, a zookeeper at the Lake Superior Zoo, says that the comic and movie helped prompt the spread of one of the world’s most invasive species- the red-eared sliders.

“A lot of people don’t realize this- Back when Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles first debuted in the 80s and early 90s. In the second volume of the comic run revealed they were red-eared slider turtles,” Dan told the lift that it made this kind of turtle popular in the pet trade. “You could find them- not even in pet stores- in dime stores and flea markets and stuff like that.”

The problem is that the babies grow up. They get big and more aggressive. On top of that, Dan adds, “They’re a very difficult pet to take care of. They require a lot of water and an expensive filtration system. The care is a lot more than what most people would realize when they’re looking for a pet.”

Dan says that some gave up caring for the sliders as pets- and simply released them back into the wild. Red-eared sliders are native to the Southern United States, but can now be found well into Mexico and Canada as well as around the world.

Donna and Raph from the zoo were born in 1998, making them 25/26 years old. These animals live into their 20s and 30s, but in extreme cases they could live to their 60s.

Dan says, “It’s literally a lifelong commitment.”