‘It’s disgraceful that people dump unwanted terrapins’

By Mary Dennehy

A TALLAGHT resident rescued a terrapin this week after it was dumped by its owners and left to die in Sean Walsh Park, a situation which is sadly becoming a common occurrence across the capital’s parks and waterways.

Jobstown resident Roisín Donaghy came across the male terrapin, which is around ten years old, at the edge of the main pond in Sean Walsh Park and due to his adventurous spirit called him Ninja.

Collie Ellis resize


Roisin, who has a rescue terrapin of her own, told The Echo: “He was at the edge of the waterfall adjacent to the village junction when I spotted him.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful that people think it’s okay to dump unwanted terrapins and tortoises in local parks – they suffer in our climate and have difficulty feeding.”

She added: “People need to have a heart and find a suitable home for their pets – or better still don’t buy one if you haven’t done your research.

“A lot of work goes into caring for a terrapin. They need a lot of looking after and kitting out their habitat with lights and filters is expensive.”


After contacting The Echo, Roisin came into contact with Tallaght resident Collie Ennis who works in the Zoology department at Trinity College, and has seven rescue terrapins living in a heated pond out in his back garden – where Ninja is now happily living.

Collie told The Echo: “I’m delighted to have been able to take this terrapin in, but I’ve eight now living in my pond, so I’m booked up!

“Not a week goes by when I don’t get a call about rehoming a terrapin and this week I also took in a tortoise which was also dumped.”

He added: “We have a major problem in Dublin with people dumping terrapins and tortoises in parks and beside rivers. I’ve spotted snapper turtles, which can be dangerous to humans, in the Dodder.

“People buy these tiny, cute creatures when they’re the size of a €2 coin but don’t realise that they grow really fast and need a lot of minding.

“People don’t do their homework, if they did they’d realise that what they bought won’t fit in a little fish tank for long, and their terrapin or tortoise ends up dumped in Sean Walsh Park or along the banks of the Dodder, which is absolutely terrible.

“Some of these dumped pets might survive for a few years but for many it can be a very slow and drawn-out death as they are not suited to our cold climate and they can’t source the right food.”

Looking forward, Collie, believes that there will eventually be an European ban on the sale of terrapins and tortoises.

“It’s such a shame that pet shops are still selling these reptiles. They are not suitable pets,” Collie said.

“Also, alongside the cruelty aspect around dumping them, it is illegal to introduce an invasive species into the country.

“These terrapins or tortoises could be carrying something that could endanger other animals in the park and they also attack local water and bird life for food.


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