Game and fish caution against parents buying pet turtles - FOX 10 News |

Game and fish caution against parents buying pet turtles

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PHOENIX (KSAZ) - The new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie has hit theaters and is causing a buzz but wildlife officials are growing concerned and have a message for parents.

While the movie is a hit with kids at the theater, Arizona game and fish is afraid families will rush out to buy  pet turtles.

 “It's the same thing that happened with 101 Dalmatians, you know people went out and bought Dalmatian puppies; or after Jurassic Park people went out and bought frilled dragons,” said Audrey Owens of Arizona Game and Fish.

They say people rush out to buy the cute, new family pet without thinking about the repercussions.

“They're small and they're cute and people think they don't actually take a lot of time to care for, when in reality they live 35 to 40 years and do take quite a bit of maintenance,” said Owens.

When people realize they don't want the pet, that's where the problem starts.

“Our biggest fear is that they are going to go and release them into the wild or into urban waters around Phoenix,” she said.

Game and fish says it's trapped almost 850 non-native turtles in the pond in front of the Phoenix  Zoo in the last nine years, all of them used to be someone's pet.

“They're going to be competing with native turtles, other native aquatic wildlife, fish, mollusks and snails and then there's also the risk that they're going to be releasing pathogens or disease into the wild,” Owens said.

The agency says if you have a pet turtle you need to get rid of, you can contact the Phoenix Herpetological Society or another reptile sanctuary to surrender it.

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