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Invasive snapping turtle found in Toyama park

The snapping turtle which was found at Takaoka Kojyo Park in the city of Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, is seen in this recent photo. (Photo courtesy of the Takaoka Municipal Government)

TAKAOKA, Toyama -- A snapping turtle, an animal which can be aggressive and is designated as invasive alien species, was found along a path through a park here, the Takaoka Municipal Government announced on June 26.

According to the municipal government, Takaoka Kojo Zoo, located in Takaoka Kojyo Park, received a report from a resident of the city of Takatsuki and zookeepers captured the turtle. Officials from the Ministry of the Environment judged that it is a snapping turtle, in response to an inquiry from the zoo.

The snapping turtle's shell is 24 centimeters in diameter, with a jagged edge near the tail, and the creature weighs 3.2 kilograms. Snapping turtles, which originate mainly in North America, generally live under the water. It apparently came from a moat in the park to the ground due to its spawning season from May to June.

The municipal government has put up warning signs in the area and distributed leaflets to local resident associations, elementary and junior high schools and kindergartens urging people to take caution.

Hitoshi Murai, a section head at Toyama Municipal Family Park Zoo, said, "Snapping turtles could breed in Toyama Prefecture." An official from the nature conservation department of Toyama Prefecture said, "If people find a snapping turtle, they should report it to us."

(Japanese original by Ikuko Aoyama, Toyama Bureau)

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