Scorpions and parakeets 'found living wild in UK'

Ring-necked parakeet There are thought to be up to 50,000 ring-necked parakeets in the UK

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Scorpions, parakeets and turtles have all been found living wild in the UK, according to a new study.

The study, led by the University of Hull, studied sightings and population numbers for creatures introduced into Britain over the last 150 years.

It found 13,000 yellow-tailed scorpions and between 30,000 and 50,000 ring-necked parakeets in south-east England.

About 10 coatis, which are also known as Brazilian aardvarks, and about 20 snapping turtles were also found.

Breeding population

The coatis, which are members of the racoon family and hail from North America, are thought to be living wild in Cumbria.

The snapping turtles, also from North America, are believed to be living in parts of Kent, London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire.

The scorpions originate from north-west Africa and southern Europe and the ring-necked parakeets come from Africa and Asia.

Report author Dr Toni Bunnell, of the University of Hull, said it was thought some of the animals had originally been kept as pets but were released when their owners could no longer look after them.

"If you get enough turfed out in the same area and they can survive and the habitat suits them, then you have got a breeding population. That seems to be what's happening."

She added that other species were thought to have escaped from private collections.

The report was commissioned by the Eden television channel.

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