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German wasp | Vespula germanica

German wasp

Vespula germanica

Coral bush | Ardisia crenata

Coral bush

Ardisia crenata

Purple loosestrife | Lythrum salicaria

Purple loosestrife

Lythrum salicaria

Pom pom weed | Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Pom pom weed

Campuloclinium macrocephalum

Canarybird bush | Crotalaria agatiflora

Canarybird bush

Crotalaria agatiflora

Peanut butter cassia | Senna didymobotrya

Peanut butter cassia

Senna didymobotrya

Rubber vine | Cryptostegia grandiflora

Rubber vine

Cryptostegia grandiflora

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Environmental Programmes

In order to tackle our country’s socio-economic challenges, the government adopted the Outcomes based approach to improve government performance and providing focus on service delivery. find out more

Alligator snapping turtle

Macrochelys temminckii

Common name:

Alligator snapping turtle

Scientific name:

Macrochelys temminckii

Alternative common names:

Loggerhead turtle, alligator turtle. 

The alligator snapping turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in the world.  It’s a carnivore that feeds primarily on fish, smaller turtles, crayfish, and mollusks (mussels and snails), but occasionally eats juvenile alligators, small mammals, ducks, amphibians, carrion, fruit, and acorns. 

Additional Info

  • Where does this species come from?

    United States of America

    What is its invasive status in South Africa?

    NEMBA category 2

    Where in South Africa is it a problem?

    KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape, and Gauteng Provinces.

    How does it spread?

    Spread via pet trade and is sold at meat markets. Humans find them valuable for their unique appearance and their meat.

    Why is it a problem?

    They feed on indigenous species such as fish, smaller turtles, crayfish, and mollusks, juvenile alligators, small mammals, ducks, amphibians, carrion and fruit. They have a dangerous bite, but generally don't attack humans unless provoked.

    What does it look like?

    Description: One of the largest freshwater turtles in the world. It has a camouflaged, ridged upper shell, a large head and powerful, hooked, beak-like jaws, which, together with its thick, scaly skin and oversized claws, all contribute to its primitive look and set it apart from other freshwater turtles. The three large, pronounced ridges running down the length of the dark brown to blackish shell somewhat resemble those on the back of an alligator. The tail is almost as long as the shell itself and, together with the chin, throat and neck, is coated with long, pointed tubercles. Habitat: Generally found in the deep water of large rivers, canals, lakes and swamps, though hatchlings and juveniles usually live in small streams. Breeding: Nests are dug at least 50 metres from the water’s edge, and a clutch containing anything between 8 and 52 eggs may be laid. Incubation lasts 100 to 140 days and most hatchlings emerge in autumn. The sex of the young is determined by incubation temperature; high and low temperatures yield more females and moderate temperatures yield more males. Sexual maturity is attained between 11 and 13 years of age.

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General News Updates

2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasio…

26-02-2019

This is your invitation to South Africa's 2019 National Symposium on Biological Invasions. The convention is hosted by the Centre for Invasion Biology (CIB), University of Stellenbosch, and the Biolo... Read more

2019 Invasive Species Training

22-01-2019

During the past five years (2014-2018), ISSA invasive species trainers have trained 4 000 in the identification of invasive species and laws pertaining to invasive species across South Africa.  ... Read more

Alien Grass Working Group

04-09-2018

Who are we? The South African National Alien Grass Working Group was jointly initiated by the South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Centre for Excellence in Invasion Biology (C·I·B) in... Read more

Permits for planting indigenous Cynodon?

01-03-2018

On 16 February, 2018, South Africa's Department of Environmental Affairs issued amendments to the regulations and lists relating to the National List of Invasive Species.  Updates to the draft&n... Read more

Invasive species training 2018 dates released

28-02-2018

Interested in invasive species?  How much do you know about NEMBA invasive species compliance for landowners and organs of state? The South African Green Industries Council (SAGIC) have released... Read more

Communications post for Africa advertised

25-01-2018

The Nature Conservancy has advertised a brand new post:  Communications Manager, Africa Region. Knowledge of invasive species and water would be an asset in this post. See details below:    Job Titl... Read more