Painted Turtles in the water garden can be a complex process. Following some easy to learn procedures makes this project worth while.
Introducing the painted turtle to the pond means that the pond needs to conform to a certain shape, size and depth.
This also means that the inner structure of the pond or water garden floor must have variations. Painted turtles in the Northeast are most active from May to October but will hibernate during winter. They require a foot or two of mud to survive a harsh northern winter. If you do not have (or want) a natural water garden pond with a mud bottom using an indoor fish tank to keep your painted turtles during winter can be nice. There is nothing more enjoyable than bringing nature in, to keep you conscious of the coming spring when your pond comes back alive!
The plants you will put back in the water garden after the shape of the garden has been changed is important, adult painted turtles eat vegetation so make sure your pond has an adequate amount of plants. You will also have to feed any hatchlings with store bought food if there is not an adequate amount of worms, beetles and other bugs in and around the water feature.
It is important to be sure there is enough vibrant vegetation to satisfy there hunger and numbers.
Turtles are also a bit messy. They leave food particles everywhere, and defecate in water as well.
Create a pipe drain that lets the water out into a rain garden that you construct in a descending way. This will filtrate that excess water back into the water table aqua way below where you live. Purchase the best filtration system for your pond with UV sterilization and particle containment/ removal.
The best time to make this transition to introducing painted and other turtles into your water garden is when you are repotting your plants anyway.
This way doing the landscaping necessary for the turtle readying is not going to disrupt the life of your pre-existing plants.
The back of the water garden needs to be steep: Nearly a sheer drop straight down.
This encourages the turtles to walk out of the pond in one direction when they are eventually introduced.
It is important to note that the plants in your garden will need to be in water pots self contained with the depth of the water garden is slowly increased as the first generation of turtles is introduced into the pond.
The bottom of the water garden needs to have several different levels as well as ledges init. This is so the turtles can rest at different spots under water as the temperature from the sun changes.
The main side of the water garden will need to have a gradual incline out of the water. The slant is for the turtles to able to easily and gradually walk to dry land.
The same barriers used to keep raccoons and other predators away from pond and water gardenfish need to be used to protect the turtles. The added thought that needs to go into this barrier planning is: Turtles also need to be kept in, so that they don’t just walk off.
These animals need a place to dry themselves in the heat of the sun each day and bask. Placing a branch big enough for turtles to climb out of the water In the middle of the pond is agood idea. Once the water garden pond has been gradually refilled, after the first generation of turtles mature, there will be a small island for the turtles to enjoy.
Heaters can be used to warm the water when it is colder outdoors but it is best to have deep enough mud and allow the painted turtles to hibernate. At 60 degrees a painted turtle will stop eating and get ready for winter, let them do what is natural or bring them in before the temps. drop.
Underwater pots are good for turtles since they add ledges at another level for turtles to enjoy.
Having turtles in the water garden is rewarding, and interesting to watch.