With their prehistoric protection shells and reptilian extremities, turtles are fun and fascinating animals. But can they harm your backyard pond?
Generally speaking, turtles should be seen as welcome additions to most aquatic ecosystems. If a small bale takes up residency in your property’s water feature, you probably have little to worry about. In fact, turtles can be helpful. But in certain situations, they may cause a few problems.
So today, we’re breaking down the pros and cons of having turtles in your property’s pond.
First a Crash Course on TurtlesTurtles are cold-blooded reptiles that can be found on every continent except Antarctica, and there are currently about 350 species on the planet. Highly adaptable and relatively easygoing about their diets, turtles will eat whatever is available and can digest both plants and meat.
Fun Fact: A turtle's outer shell is made of bone, and it's called a carapace.
Benefits of Pond Turtles
Turtles are like pond vacuum cleaners. Their omnivorous palates aren’t discerning, and they’ll munch on just about anything in front of them. Folks assume that turtles will eat up all the fresh, healthy fish in a pond. And they may occasionally catch a sushi-grade swimmer. But they usually opt for the path of least resistance — the slow, sick, and dead ones — which helps prevent unwanted bacteria from building up.
Turtles also chow on underwater plant life, keeping pond weeds under control. Conveniently, they’re particularly fond of issue-causing strains. In a way, having a few turtles around is like medicine for your pond.
However, you shouldn’t rely on turtles to keep all of your weeds under control. Instead, enlist the services of a certified pond landscaping expert to help keep your underwater ecosystem healthy and thriving.
Potential Drawback of Pond Turtles
Problems with pond turtles arise when they overtake an ecosystem — and certain species reproduce at rabbit-like rates. When they become the dominant species, turtles compete for food and other resources and may eventually starve out the fish.
Having too many turtles can also obscure problems that are causing fish to die. After all, if they’re gobbling up all the dead swimmers, you may not notice their carcasses and miss a fatal bacteria problem metastasizing in your pond.
Turtles are fun to observe and make a great visual addition to landscaped water features. So long as you keep their populations in check, they’re more helpful than harmful. The key is maintaining a healthy balance. Crosscreek Environmental is one of the premier pond management companies in Florida. So if you’re in the Sunshine State, and need a landscaper with expert knowledge of Florida pond maintenance, give us a call.
At Crosscreek Environmental, we believe in providing a comprehensive, environmentally friendly approach in creating solutions to maintain the beauty and health of Florida's ponds, lakes, wetlands, and shorelines. We use the B.E.S.T.™ geo-tube solution and are one of the best geo-tube solution providers in the state of Florida.