Turtle ponds are, quite fortunately, not much harder to construct than backyard ponds. In fact, it is going to be very easy to tell you how to make a pond that will encourage turtles.
The real key is to make a bridge between the water and the pond edge that allows turtles to climb in and out of the pond easily.
Many folks use a large log – something on the order of 8 inches wide is good – to allow turtles easy access into and out of the water. Or, as the picture shows, a flat rock that is easily reached by a turtle for access to the water.
The other advantage of using a log such as this is that the turtles will sun themselves on the log and this gives you a viewing site to watch these creatures. Give the turtles a place to sun themselves, and they will stay around quite happily.
Turtle Ponds and Problems
What’s the disadvantage of having turtles in your pond? Sometimes they eat the baby fish or frogs.
Turtles eat darn near anything they can catch so do expect some fish losses.
The other thing is that in the spring, female turtles are pretty determined to lay their eggs where they think they should be put. This invariably winds up being right under your prized perennial plant where the ground is nice and soft and she can dig it up easily. Females are quite the little bulldozers when it comes to digging holes for their eggs.
Some folks think that turtles are dangerous as they’ll bite you. Well, you’d bite too if somebody was going to pick you up and eat you.
Note a painted turtle looks like a “turtle”with rounded shell – but a snapping turtle looks like a prehistoric monster with ridges on shell. Snapping turtles should never be picked up as they are quite dangerous.
So from a turtle’s perspective, as long as it is left alone, it will leave you alone. And even if it decides to try a nip when you pick it up, unless you’re talking about a monstrous snapping turtle, there’s no problem to humans or pets.
Most of the time, the turtle is simply going to withdraw into its shell at the first sign of danger. If you put your finger in its mouth or it thinks your toe is a worm (a favorite food) then it may nip.
The reality is that if you’re in the middle of the city, it will be difficult to stock turtle ponds. If you wouldn’t walk from the nearest wild area to your backyard, then neither is a turtle likely to show up. You’d have to arrange to find and encourage a wild one to join you. If you live in the country, a turtle will move in as soon as it finds the energy to stop napping in the sunshine and find a new pond. Just ensure it has a “ladder” to get in and out of the pond and you’ll both be happy.