Non-native turtle turns up in Howard Co.
The false map turtle, a reptile with Mississippi roots, has been discovered in a lake in Howard County raising concerns about non-native wildlife crowding out native species, the Baltimore Sun reports.
Sue Muller, a naturalist who works for Howard County's Department of Recreation and Parks said it's the first time a non-native creature has been found at Lake Elkhorn.
While the false map turtle that was found June 17 might not seem like a threat, it could change the Maryland landscape in unintended ways if allowed to breed, she added.
"It's a great lesson for people to know about not dumping your pets," Muller said.
Muller assumes that this is how the turtle got into the Columbia lake. The turtle is distinguished by its unusual pointed shell, which is adorned with the patterns that inspired its name. The species also has yellow zigzag marks along each side of its head. Turtles can live for 60 years or more, and some who buy one for a pet tire of it or see it grow bigger than they are comfortable with and release it into the wild, Muller said.
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