Turtles are reptiles that many people are fascinated with. You might even have pet turtles that you care for in your home.
It can be a lot of fun to own turtles, but it’s also interesting to encounter them in the wild. Some people have ponds on their properties and they will have turtles that just naturally live in or near the pond.
Are turtles good for a pond, though? Or will they have a negative impact on the pond?
Keep reading to learn about turtles and whether they’re good for ponds or not. You’ll examine this topic from several angles so you can feel confident when deciding what to do for your pond.
Turtles Can Be Beneficial
Having some turtles in your pond can be beneficial. If you only have a few turtles, it shouldn’t be problematic in any way.
In fact, having a couple of sliders in the pond can help the pond’s ecosystem overall. Sliders will do a good job of keeping things clean without harming the biology of the pond.
Since turtles are omnivores, they’re going to eat lots of different things. In ponds, they’ll eat both plant matter and dead fish.
Turtles clean things up and prevent many infections from spreading since there won’t be rotting flesh sticking around the pond area. It’s also worth noting that wild snapping turtles will usually eat dead fish.
Snapping turtles are predators, but they’re not fast enough to catch healthy fish. They’ll only be able to reliably feed on sick or dead fish.
You’ll also find that turtles will help when it comes to weed control. It’s typical for turtles to eat aquatic weeds.
If the turtles weren’t there, the weeds would grow out of control. So you can see how they can be rather helpful.
So long as there aren’t too many turtles, they’ll be good for the pond. The impact that they’ll have on the biology of the pond will be minimal.
The presence of the turtles certainly won’t cause the fish in the pond to starve. So you don’t need to avoid putting turtles in your pond.
Plus, turtles can be very entertaining to watch. It might make the pond a lot livelier and more entertaining if you add a few sliders.
Negative Aspects of Turtles in Ponds
There are some negative aspects to having turtles in ponds. Mostly, it becomes a problem when there are too many turtles.
The presence of many turtles will have a negative impact on the biology of the pond. Only putting a few turtles in the pond should be okay.
A problem that you should consider is that turtles can potentially reproduce rather fast. If you don’t keep that in check, they could overpopulate the pond.
When you have too many turtles in a pond, it’ll hurt the overall water quality in the pond. Also, the fish in the pond might start having a harder time competing for food and other resources.
It also becomes more likely that turtles might be able to snack on healthy fish. This isn’t common, but it can still happen when the turtles are present in higher numbers.
You should also know that too many turtles might eat the aquatic life in the pond. It’s good for them to eat problem weeds, but they won’t differentiate between weeds and plants that you want to keep around.
If you plan to use the pond yourself, it might not be safe to keep turtles in the pond. There are a few reasons for this.
Turtles carry salmonella bacteria and it is very harmful to humans. You could get seriously sick if you are exposed to salmonella bacteria.
You’ll need to seek medical help as soon as possible if you start feeling stomach discomfort. Commonly, salmonella will cause issues with diarrhea and fever as well.
Swimming in a pond that has turtles isn’t recommended. Snapping turtles might try to bite you and you could get seriously injured.
So if you plan to use the pond yourself, it’s best to avoid putting turtles in there. Only put turtles in the pond if you’re using it for observational or aesthetic purposes.
What to Do About Wild Turtles?
What if wild turtles are getting into your pond? Is there anything you can do to make them go away?
You might be able to trap the turtles and relocate them. However, it might not be legal to do so where you live.
Different areas have different laws about what you can do to certain creatures. Turtles might be protected in your area or they might require you to apply for a permit to be able to trap them.
No matter what, you need to make sure that you’re doing everything the right way. It’d be a shame to get in trouble for breaking the law because you didn’t look everything up ahead of time.
Look into the local laws in your area. See if it’s legal to trap and relocate turtles.
If everything is legal, you’ll be able to move forward. Otherwise, you might not be able to do much.
There are various turtle traps that you can buy. Some traps even submerge in the water and trap the turtles there.
Once you trap the turtles, you’ll simply need to relocate them to an appropriate spot. It’s wise to drive them a fair distance away from your home so they don’t return.
Sadly, many say that relocating turtles is a cruel thing to do. When you do this, it can cause the turtle to become frightened.
It might be so confused that it won’t know what to do. Depending on where you put it, the turtle might not be able to compete with animals in the area to find food.
The turtle might even get picked off by predators. Putting a turtle in a different pond with other turtles might be bad too since you could unknowingly cause turtle disease to spread.
Can You Kill Wild Turtles?
In some areas, it might be legal to kill wild turtles. In others, it might be completely illegal.
This is another situation where you must consult the local laws in your area. It might be illegal to shoot turtles or otherwise kill them.
If it is legal, it still might be a bit excessive to kill the turtles. You should probably forget this line of thinking and instead try to keep the turtles out of the pond.
How to Keep Turtles Out of the Pond
Keeping turtles out of the pond might be the best thing that you can do. One of the most practical options is to put a fence around the pond.
A simple yard fence should keep many types of animals from getting to the pond. It’s also a good way to keep predators from trying to get to the fish in the pond.
You might have to spend a bit of cash to get this option to work. If you decide to build your own fence, you’ll need to pay for materials.
It’s also worth noting that you might need to get permission to do this in certain areas. Not everywhere just allows you to build fences without getting permits or going through other channels.
A simple perimeter fence is likely all you need to get the job done. A small fence that is one or two feet high will keep turtles from being able to get to the pond.
It’s less expensive than building a big fence around the yard, too. Some might think that it’ll hurt the aesthetic value of the pond, though.
Have you considered using pond netting instead? Placing mesh netting over the pond will keep predators and all sorts of debris from getting in the pond.
It’ll also keep turtles from getting in there. This isn’t very visible, but it does a great job of keeping turtles at bay.
If you want to keep things as affordable as possible, going with the netting is a good idea. It’s up to you to decide whether building a fence or using netting is the best option.
Turtles aren’t necessarily bad for ponds. In fact, they can be beneficial if there are only a few turtles.
You might even choose to buy a few sliders and add them to the pond yourself. They will eat aquatic weeds and they’ll clean up dead fish in the pond.
Having too many turtles in the pond will negatively impact the biology. You want to avoid letting turtles overpopulate the pond.
Wild turtles will sometimes become a big problem. You might need to figure out how to keep them out.
Some choose to try to trap and relocate turtles when they’re bothering the pond area. Others will simply try to keep them out using fences or pond netting.
Whatever you want to do, you’ll be able to decide now that you have all of the information. You know more about turtles and the impact that they can have on ponds now.
Use this information wisely. You should be able to enjoy your pond with or without turtles when you take the right precautions.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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