Department of Parks adn Wildlife
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Turtle hatchlings search for wetlands home

Oblong turtle hatchlings
Oblong turtle hatchlings Parks and Wildlife

The Department of Parks and Wildlife is calling on members of the public who come across turtle hatchlings in their backyards or along pathways not to pick them up.

Parks and Wildlife wildlife officer Matt Swan said the oblong turtle was a common native species in the metropolitan area and hatchlings were starting to move from sandy nests to wetlands as spring gets underway.

“Through the department’s Wildcare Helpline and social media, we have been contacted by a number of concerned people who have spotted oblong hatchlings and feared they may be in danger,” he said.

“However we want to let the public know it is perfectly normal for hatchlings to be searching for nearby wetlands at this time of year as they emerge from their nests.

“If the turtles are in a safe area, we are strongly urging people to refrain from handling or disturbing them in the wild.

“And if you discover hatchlings in your garden, please keep household pets away from them.”

Earlier this week, a Parks and Wildlife wildlife officer found a 6cm oblong turtle hatchling in his backyard in Innaloo that was most likely headed towards Herdsman Lake.

“We suspect this turtle may have been living in or possibly rushed down a stormwater drain and with more rain forecast, we expect more hatchlings will be washed up in backyards or on beaches,” Mr Swan said.

Mr Swan also reminded the public that oblong turtles cannot be collected from wetlands and waterways to take home and be kept as pets.

“As a native species, the oblong turtle is protected under the Wildlife Conservation Act,” he said.

“These turtles are also a lot harder to look after than people think, especially hatchlings.

“Without specialist care they don’t survive as well in captivity however they do have a good chance of a long life in their natural habitat in wetlands.”

Anyone who finds a turtle that they believe is sick or injured should contact the Wildcare Helpline on 9474 9055 for advice.

Oblong turtles are common across Western Australia’s south-west. Most hatchlings have a shell, or carapace, the size of 20 cent piece and are sighted around spring when they emerge from sandy nests where they were deposited by their mother as eggs. 

Media contact: Parks and Wildlife Media 9219 9999

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