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After the release of the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, fish and game departments have been forced to make statements against recommending turtles as pets.
According to KSAZ, this preemptive action is not entirely unwarranted. In fact, “there was a rush on frilled dragons when Jurassic Park came out and we don’t want to see that with turtles," Audrey Owens of the Arizona Department of Fish and Game said.
Although the protective superhero qualities of their big screen counterparts may suggest otherwise, pet turtles do require a lot of care. Az Central reports that many turtle buyers are also unaware of how large their new reptiles will get, and of their potential 35-year life span.
This lack of knowledge becomes problematic when bored turtle owners resort to abandoning the reptiles in the wild. Many of these are non-native species are unsuited for life outside of captivity in the regions where they were purchased. The Fish and Game department teams up with the Phoenix Zoo every May to set traps for abandoned turtles, many of which are left in the pond right outside the zoo.
Owens reports that about 850 turtles have been captured over the past nine years. The expert also suggests that those still interested in turtle ownership after knowing the facts can adopt them from local wildlife organizations.