I was fly fishing on a Boise pond when I spotted something looking back at me. It was a turtle perched on a log. It's a common sight in ponds, but as I looked closer, I spotted another, then more. At one time, there were six of them within about 20 feet of each other. It was cool to see so many.
I shot a bunch of photos and wondered if they were native or non native. Looks like painted turtles, but I'm not 100 percent sure which ones. A quick phone call to Idaho Fish and Game confirmed we have lots of non native turtles. Typically, someone buys one for a pet and eventually decides they don't want it, so they turn it loose, and then a few turns into a lot.
There's a lot of debate about non native species competing with native species. I prefer seeing animals where they naturally occurred before people started importing, introducing, and letting things go for various reasons.
Some people automatically tag all non natives as "invasive," which has a very negative connotation. That would mean pheasants, chukars, brown trout and fox squirrels are invaders, even though most people like and value them.
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But back to turtles. It appears we have native and non native turtles, and I guess as long as we have reasonably healthy population of both, I am okay with that. After all, the non native ones didn't ask to be brought here. They're just trying to survive and live as nature intended, even if they got misplaced.