Habitat Guidelines: Outdoor Ponds for Aquatic Turtles

  • habitat must be predator-proof as appropriate to your area (from dog, raccoon, fox, skunk, coyote, etc.)
  • fencing must be opaque, at least 12" high, and buried at least 4" in substrate
  • minimum size for one turtle: 100 gallons; Two turtles: 150 gallons
  • for examples of pre-formed pond liners, please see: http://www.pondepot.com/preformedponds.html
  • for a pond volume calculator, please see: http://www.pondliner.com/product/pond_liner_size_calculator/topics
  • pond must have minimum depth of 2’ of an area large enough for turtle(s) to rest horizontally on bottom
  • easy-access basking areas (one for each turtle plus one)
  • aquatic plants, floating logs, and/or other cover to provide shade
  • areas of shade and areas of morning sun
  • filtration system must be suitable for turtles
  • CoRHS uses and recommends a biological filter such as those offered by Skippy’s Beautiful Ponds & Gardens:http://skippysstuff.com/biofiltr.htm
  • “turtle” filters as sold in pet stores are generally not appropriate for outdoor use
  • a UV sterilizer will help keep water clear, but is not necessary for turtles
  • pond water must be adequately oxygenated through the use of air bubblers and/or flowing water
  • if turtles will overwinter in pond, aeration and filtration systems must remain running throughout winter and pond must not freeze solid
  • for more on hibernating aquatic turtles, please see the CoRHS Guide to Aquatic Turtle Hibernation:http://corhs.org/CoRHS_Aquatic_Turtle_Hibernation_Guide.pdf

Habitat Guidelines: Outdoor Ponds for Aquatic Turtles - Colorado Reptile Humane Society
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