red ear sliderHaving a pond without turtles is nearly an impossibility.  In some ponds you  may not see the turtles, while in other ponds they are highly visible and bask in the sun on the shoreline and from the water.

Do larger quantities of turtles endanger my pond?  This is a valid question which can best by answered by asking yourself WHY the turtles are there and HOW MANY are too many.  Let’s first address why turtles are in ponds.  Ponds naturally provide several characteristics that attract many varieties of wildlife for one common reason, the environment.

Turtles require water, protection, hibernation and food nourishment.  The mucky bottoms allow hibernation and protection during the winter months.   Water, plant life, food, warm sand for reproduction and protection is offered to turtles throughout the remainder of the year.

Understanding the requirements necessary for turtles helps you to understand why they are there but does not indicate an over-abundance of them.  Some ponds have just a few turtles while other ponds (predominantly in southern states) may have more than fifty.

How do you know HOW MANY turtles are in your pond?  You can judge the population by answering a few questions.  How do the edges of your pond look?  Are you missing fish?  Your pond will tell you if it has too many turtles.  Indicators would be stunted bass or bluegill populations as well as reduced naturally occurring vegetation.  The red eared slider turtle diet can include 50% of your ponds aquatic and wetland plants while the remainder of its diet includes terrestrial and other sources.   In general, it is beneficial to have aquatic plants as they filter your water and provide habitat for fish and wildlife.

If you believe that you have too many turtles, there are options for controlling the turtle population.  We will discuss control methods in the next article.  So, take a look, take note and see if you have an over-abundance of turtles.