Friday, 30 August 2013

Snapping Turtles Finding Refuge in Urban Areas While Habitats Are Being Polluted

Aug. 27, 2013 — In the Midwest, some people have a fear of encountering snapping turtles while swimming in local ponds, lakes and rivers. Now in a new study, a University of Missouri researcher has found that snapping turtles are surviving in urban areas as their natural habitats are being polluted or developed for construction projects. One solution is for people to stop using so many chemicals that are eventually dumped into the waterways, the scientist said.

"Snapping turtles are animals that can live in almost any aquatic habitat as long as their basic needs for survival are met," said Bill Peterman, a post-doctoral researcher in the Division of Biological Sciences at MU. "Unfortunately, suitable aquatic habitats for turtles are being degraded by pollution or completely lost due to development. We found that snapping turtles can persist in urbanized areas, despite the potential for more interaction with humans."

Peterman said that reducing negative inputs, such as waste and harmful chemicals, into waterways will help restore snapping turtles' habitats. Engaging in this type of environmental action also will increase biodiversity in those habitats and improve the quality of life to all species that call those habitats home.

However, even though turtles are living in urban areas, Peterman says people have nothing to fear.

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