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I’ve heard a lot about snapping turtles. Are they good for a pond or should just remove them? – Ponds & Lakes Q & A

I’ve heard a lot about snapping turtles. Are they good for a pond or should just remove them?

I’ve heard a lot about snapping turtles. Are they good for a pond or should just remove them? George – Duck, NC

Ponds tend to attract all types of creatures to your yard, some more desirable than others. With their large claws and strong jaws, snapping turtles may make the list of animals you don’t want in your pond. It all really boils down to why you dug your pond in the first place and how you spend your time enjoying it.

The snapping turtle is the largest turtle in the United States, living 30 years on average, their shells growing to around 15 inches, and normally reaching weights of 10 to 35 pounds. The largest common snapping turtle on record being nearly 20 inches long and weighing 86 pounds. It is believed some species of snapping turtles can live up to 150 years with some reports of snappers have been found with musket rounds lodged inside them from the American Civil War.

Snapping turtles tend to inhabit the shallow areas of your pond and will feed off of both plants and animals limited only to what they can fit in their mouths. If you have prized fish or encourage Geese and Ducks to raise hatchlings in your pond you may find snapping turtles to be a major inconvenience. These turtles rarely surface in the pond to bask in the sun and instead are commonly found buried at the bottom of the pond with only their head exposed. Because they are too big to actually hide inside their shell the snapping turtle relies on his sharp beak-like mouth for protection. Their neck is extremely flexible and is able to reach over their shells to protect their hind legs and tail. While their size and power may be intimidating they are not usually aggressive in the water. Rather than attack and bite potential threats they prefer to swim away and hide. That being said, there is no guarantee that you won’t accidentally provoke one of these snappers. If you swim in your pond you may not want to keep the snappers around.

If you have a natural pond and have no intentions of swimming or any special attachment to particular fish or frogs in the water there is no reason why these turtles can’t be a part of the scenery. They can help balance fish populations and are absolutely amazing to look at if you can spot a large one moving around your pond. If you decide that they need to find a new home you can remove them by installing a Turtle Trap. You can bait the trap with fish or meat from your home and place the trap in the shallow areas of your pond. You don’t want the turtle to drown so keep the top of the cage exposed and out of the water. When you catch a turtle be sure to use thick working gloves to protect your hands from potential bites or scratches. Pull the cage from the pond and transport the turtle to another location. As they are known to travel far distances over land you will want to relocate them a few miles away from your pond or they may find their way back. Never try to catch snapping turtles using hooks as they tend to swallow food whole. If they ingest a hook you will be unable to remove it and possibly injure the turtle.

POND TALK: Did you find snapping turtles in your pond? Do you love them or hate them and why?

Keep those fish safe from predators!

58 Responses

  1. No good comes from having a stocked farm pond with snapping turtles. I have one detoxing in clear water; figure he ate roughly $60 in fish whereas the heron only about $10 or so (from our observations). Soon, we will be enjoying fried turtle. New decoys are keeping the heron away, but still have another 12-14lb snapper to catch and all will be good.

    We also enjoy our frogs as do our bass, but their decline was the last straw when it comes to getting rid of turtles. Don’t need data, hints or tips, just the daily observation of snappers eating their fresh kill. Geez, they were getting to our catfish pellets faster than the fish and grabbed a few of them during the feeding sessions.

  2. Just saw something very strange at my just <1 acre pond. I was standing on the dock, just looking into the water at all the newly hatched fish. Suddenly there was a splash near shore and some further splashing. I assumed it was a bass feeding on the fingerlings but then I saw the bass, It's belly was up and it was struggling. Something had grabbed it. The fish kept trying to swim away but could not escape. The bass was around 12 to 13 inches long. I could not get a clear view of what had grabbed it. It was a dark shape and looked to be smaller than the fish. It was about the size of the larger painted turtles I have seen in the pond. I am thinking this had to be a small snapper but am not sure. I am pretty sure it was not a snake or an animal like a mink but frankly I don't know what I saw. I was sure about the bass and it's size but I have no idea what was attacking it.

  3. We have plenty of snapping turtles in our farm pond. For the past week I have baited my hooks over and over. I caught one 18 lb snapper and another 10 lb. I have used Treble hooks and curved hooks. I started with chicken breast, switched to hot dogs, Then pork chops, then to liver, and now gizzards. My bait is almost always gone and so are the turtles! I’m getting annoyed they are smarter than I am. Anyone have a good source about how to bait the hook. I have to be doing something wrong.

  4. I just saw a huge snapper come up from underneath one of our painter turtles and try to get it. I think it’s time for it to go! the painters will come up and eat right out of our hands.

  5. We have a male and female snapper in our pond, along with painted turtles. The pond is stocked with koi and bass, we feed the turtles along with the fish and the turtles never get aggressive with the fish unless the bass keeps bumping them in their heads trying to steal the food, even then it is a half-hearted snap, more of a warning.It seems to take a lot to get them pissed off. They are super smart, they will see us working in the yard and come across the pond to greet us. I swim in the pond, I have swam with the turtles nearby and they have never bothered me while I am swimming. They eat the dead carrion and things like leeches. I consider them an important part of our ecosystem and I enjoy having them around. I believe my pond is cleaner due to them being in it.

  6. Well I have wished for a turtle to take up residence in my small pond and was absolutely thrilled to finally see one today after a three year wait! He/she is more than welcome to stay as long as it likes. It’s nature… it’s a pond… it belongs. 😄

  7. That snapping turtle best pray it never find its way back to my Koi pond. It killed 9 baby Koi and ate 4 of them. I don’t want to ever see it again!

  8. We have a small pond in the back yard. Every year like clockwork Mr Snappy shows up in the spring with his buddies. Mr Snappy likes to suns himself on a log to catch the morning sun. He is so used to us that he stays on the log while I mow the back yard.

  9. I can not stand them. Recently moved to Mississippi at my parents house. There is a pond through out the complex. My parents have a most perfect location w the patio facing the pond. The problem is that there are turtles in that pond and they eat those poor ducklings. I have even seen them fight w the grown ones. A couple of the ducks have had their webbed feet damaged. What can be done since this an apartment home community

    • Hi Roxanna – Unfortunately this is the uglier side of nature that we don’t like to think about. There may not be much you can do to stop it, but if you are concerned you can contact local DNR in your area for any available options.

  10. Stay at least six feet away from a mature snapper as they can jump!! When they pull their legs in it could be for protection or to spring at something.

  11. Over the last couple of years my all Bass fish population has dwindled to almost no fish. The only thing I can think of is the several good size turtles that have been spotted are eating them. Any other ideas on my disappearing fish? They’ve grown fine for years, some 14-16 inches and I see no dead ones, we just no longer see them in the pond.

    • Hi Gregg – Snapping turtles typically feed on dead or sick (slow) fish. Active, healthy fish are generally too fast for a snapping turtle to catch. Dead fish don’t always wash to the banks. Sometimes they will sink to the bottom of the pond and decompose. Did your pond ice over at any time over the past couple years? Did you have any excessive weed growth? Any changes to your pond management (i.e. chemical treatments)? Were the fish ever pellet fed?

    • Gregg, I wish I knew the answer because I had the same problem. My half acre pond was stocked w bass and minnows and last spring of 2014 I realized they were all gone. I couldn’t believe it! No evidence of dead fish anywhere. The consensus seemed to be that a heron got them or maybe even a bear. I spend my summers in the Catskills and the pond does freeze over but those fish were healthy & thriving since we stocked the pond back in 1989. Still a mystery to me — a snapping turtle was a possibility and I had actually spotted one — but I think the heron makes more sense — or I should say the heron and a bunch of his buddies. I haven’t restocked the pond yet but I will next spring

  12. We moved to this house with a pond connected to a tidal river 5 years ago. Since the beginning, we noticed there was a large snapping turtle come to the pond once in a while. At first, it was interesting and since we only saw in the water, it didn’t matter to me at all.
    After that, every year we saw a little more snapping turtles than before, and by last year, we saw snapping turtle laying eggs weekly.

    Well, this year, I haven’t seen one particular big one any more (last year there were 2 huge ones), but so many of regular size ones (about size of laptop computer). The pond usually have at least 3 of them visible most of the time.

    This past week was so bad – twice in a week I saw 3 snapping turtles laying eggs at the same time (I’m sure they were all different turtles). I must have seen 10-15 snapping turtles laying eggs this season already. Even one hole is dug up by raccoons or something, another turtle lays eggs again at the same spot and even a 3rd one. Multiple turtles layer eggs at many spots. There are so many holes, covered or not covered all over my lawn and flower beds.

    I believe in let the nature taking it’s course or if someone wants to kill, I don’t feel bad if it is for consumption (not for me!! I won’t be able to enjoy, thinking about that scary face of the snap pies!). If I relocate the turtles, I think they will just keep coming and I don’t want that either.

    So, I am thinking about putting a low fence (as low as possible) around the pond. I am also looking for informations if there are plants or something that turtles don’t like, so I can plant them. I noticed they haven’t dug one of my flowerbeds and that might be because of mint or sage – I wouldn’t know till I actually plant mint in the bed they lay eggs to see that bothers them. Probably not.

    If anybody heard anything about planting something in bed to curb them, I would like to know.

    • Hi Hiroe – A fence may deter the turtles until some other wildlife comes up and flattens part of it. To my knowledge, there are no known plant repellents for snapping turtles. It is odd that you have an increase of nesting turtles this year. Has there been a lot of construction in your area that may have caused the turtles to seek out new water? You can trap the turtles and release them about 10 miles from your current property. You may need to clear this with your local DNR. Snapping turtles do have their place in a pond’s ecosystem. They do eat dead or diseased fish and weeds in your pond.

  13. I have trapped and relocated many snappers from my duck pond over the last 10 years. They not only kill and eat the baby ducks but will pull a full size duck under water and bury it in the bottom of the pond for future meals. I stocked the pond with several kinds of fish and they eat all of them within a year. I am a nature lover except for this killer.

  14. Dr E. was responding in a very informed and intellectual manner and I was very impressed, until he stated that snapping turtles don’t eat ducks. My story: I was in a Jon boat fishing a farm pond in central Illinois. I was happy to observe a mama mallard with 12 tiny baby ducks moving along the shoreline. They were behind her in single file, mimicking her ever movement. They went around a point and disappeared out of sight in a shallow bay. Ten minutes later they came back, but there was only 11 ducklings. A half hour later, this same thing happened, but now there was only ten ducklings. So, I moved into the other side of this bay and waited. Pretty soon, momma duck and babies came into the bay and suddenly one baby was simply grabbed and disappeared from the surface. I pulled up the anchor and slowly paddled to the place it disappeared. At first, I couldn’t see a thing. Then I saw the yellow of a baby ducks foot. The rest was in the jaws of a good sized snapper. On another trip, same pond, I observed an adult mallard that suddenly started flapping its wings, but couldn’t get air borne. I went to its aid and could clearly see a snapper under it. But as I approached, the whole duck went underwater. Never laid eyes on it again. So, Dr. E, you may be a great guy and contributed a lot to our country and the environment, thank you for your fine work. But I might humbly suggest you spend a little more time at daybreak, when the water is calm, and observe.

  15. take them out they will snap your line eat your fish is just not good for ponds

  16. I chuckle at many of these posts, saddened by some. As a zoologist, I stumbled across this post just bored reading, and wanted to shed some light on this topic. The name Common Snapping turtle shouldn’t trick anybody. They are found in all fresh water in the US. No matter if its a FL swamp or a Colorado river stream, to a Midwest farm pond. I have witnessed a snapping turtle in at least 40 states I have done work in.

    Common snappers are extremely beneficial. The create massive holes under water that are shared by bluegill nests, catfish spawn, and other animals (beavers, muskrats, snakes, etc). Seems contradictory does it not? That’s because adult snapping turtles feed 90-95% on vegetation. To the lady who feeds her fish nightly and the turtle follows her, exactly, they are intelligent. Why work hard for food when u don’t have too? I’ll further explain:
    -As a baby turtle, they eat anything that moves that is small. Snails, worms, bugs. As they get to their scrappy teen years, just like humans, they are growing and need a lot of protein fueled energy to grow. In addition they are small, nimble, and much quicker being youthful! Sound familiar? Their fish eating only lasts a few yews and consists mainly of small bluegill or shad. Rarely do we see them eat larger fish, turtles are not fast enough & common snappers lack the alligator snapping turtle tongue lure device. As an adult, they forage 90% on rummage on the bottom of ponds or streams and usually eat dead creatures & crayfish. As adults they are too clunky and awkward to catch fish. They choose an easy Anacharis plant (great for turtle aquariums) that isn’t going to swim away from them. Also I would like to add that turtles do not eat ducks or baby ducks. Just like going outside with wet hair does not make you sick, if u think that’s true I’m sorry to tell you your parents were wrong and the Rhino virus is actually what causes your cold, not wet hair. Us humans fear anything that is a predator and never for a good reason. We’v e killed enough creatures off when will it stop? Remove your snapping turtles, ok, so now catfish don’t have spawn holes, nor do bluegill. Compare it to the gopher tortoise in FL, 300-1000 species rely on their burrows! I wish we had the number for the snapping turtle but it’s under water. Just ask those guys who grab them by hand… Beavers, muskrats, carp, catfish, etc! The ecosystem thrives off of them. Every native species plays a massive role! Dead fish, animals, dead ducks, yes the turtle will eat that, it scavenges easy meals, turning what would be waste into energy. They will long surpass our race, they’ve been here a hundred million years longer too.

    So if you think u have or don’t have them… You do. Let them be, they will keep your lake safe. They eat insects, mosquito larvae, leeches, carrion (dead stuff), and can eat away invasive plants too.

    Females travel at night to find mates & lay eggs, so it’s very rare to even see them. Males stay in the water 90-95% of their life. I’ve actually never in 30 years seen a male outside the water.

    When you look at one, look into their eyes, that turtle could have been here 150 years ago and looked into your great relatives eyes, or saw the civil war. We’ll never Know.

    Dr. E, Zoologist, SIUC

    -Numerous articles written about the snapping turtle
    -raised injured & baby snapping turtles for 27 years
    -love for evolution

    • Thank you for all the useful information Dr. E!

    • Thank you Dr. E, for the educational and enlightening information. My wife thought she saw a rock walking into our 3000 gallon ornamental pond today. Obviously it had to be a turtle but she could not tell what kind.That’s what brought me to this blog. I’m glad I found it.

    • Thanks for a great article. This morning I discovered a yearling or younger (2″) snapper in the muck bucket from my skimmer cleanings. I had no idea he got cleaned out of my 3000 gal. ornamental fish pond. I love turtles and was so excited to find him! After enjoying him out of the water for a while I released him on the bank and he made his way back into the water. Other than cleaning out excess yuck I try to keep my pond as natural as possible. I love my toads, frogs, tadpoles, snails, fish and their fry, barnswallows swooping for a sip, dragonflies, etc. I’m proud that my pond attracts nature. I’m not thrilled with the raccoons who ate all my large expensive fish, but I’m satisfied with regular goldfish. I no longer use any chemicals after the unfortunate discovery that one that I used killed songbirds. Each new discovery of life in the pond is exciting and as long as the snapper doesn’t cause any trouble he is welcome in my pond.

    • I have personally witnessed my own hand raised adolescent duck in the jaws of a snapping turtle in my own pond. Not needing the services of a zoologist to explain to me that it doesn’t happen, I later trapped and removed two of them.

      • Sorry for your loss. That had to be tough.

        Common sense and experience are the best teachers. Maybe a snapper might not aggressively go after a fast moving target, but a young duck sitting or drifting would be hard for any hungry meat eater to pass up. I’ve kept 5″ to 7″ snappers as pets for short periods of time and they can be eating machines. To be fair, every type of water turtle I’ve had experience with is the same way. Healthy, hungry turtles in the water mean business. I’ve seen ‘sweet’ 5″ painted turtles and red ear turtles kept together in too small a container eat a leg off of their tank mates. Soft shell turtles eat voraciously too. You have to watch your own fingers around any water turtle.

        I love nature, but I’m well aware that it can smack you in the face when you least expect it. A healthy dose of respect should accompany anyone’s love of nature.

        Thank you for sharing your experience. A good piece of knowledge we can tuck away.

      • I have also witnessed multiple adult ducks mutilated and killed by snapping turtles on ponds and countless ducklings eaten… snapping turtles absolutely prey on waterfowl, both young and old, and for a zoologist to claim that fact as fiction is simply outrageous.

      • We have to remember, ponds are ecosystems. This includes everything in and around the pond. Sometimes we cannot stop how nature balances itself out and runs its course.

    • This article was very enlightening! Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for your information on snapping turtles in my pond. Several years ago we caught one and removed it safely to a different environment (no not our neighbor’s pond) Yesterday as I was driving out of my lane my husband and I spotted a snapper on the edge of the far side of our 1/3 acre pond. (the area where we have built up an under water structure with objects for fish to swim into.) We never swim in that area.
      My grandchildren and I love to swim and dive off of the dock on the opposite side of the pond. I’m not exactly scared of one of us being bitten by a turtle but it is on my mind. Should it be? I have not told the kids that we saw this turtle, which scooted into the pond as soon as it sensed our approach, as I know it would frighten them out of swimming in the pond.
      Hoping you can ease my mind!

      • Hi Suzanne – Like most wildlife, snapping turtles will leave you alone unless provoked. If you are unsure, I would recommend trapping and releasing to another area.

      • We saw Old Moe a couple of times this month…He (or she) is HUGE! but since I hear they are mostly scavengers, I just leave him alone. I think he is about 15 inches across and about 24″ long. Pretty big turtle. his head is easily the size of my clenched fist.

      • i never ever thought i would find a huge turtle in my pond. it is a half acre, springfed, that we had dug out circa 1989 (location Sullivan County, New York). The pond is banked, shallow at the edges but about nine feet in the middle. We stocked it with bass and minnows but haven’t fished it in years. And every year i love swimming in it. There are water lilies everywhere. To manage the algae I put aqua shade (or similar) in it annually which gives the water a beautiful blue tint but is reportedly nontoxic

        Just about a half hour ago I was walking toward the pond and saw a giant turtle on the dock — how it even got up there baffles me because the ladder leading up is difficult to navigate. My heart stopped. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I stared at it and kept going, hoping I could get my camera — but seconds after i walked past I heard a splash and knew it had gone back into the water. Now I am terrified to swim in the pond. That turtle was definitely BIG – at least a foot and a half long and almost as wide. I am troubled . . I can’t believe it’s been living in there all this time and I never saw it!!! . Is this a snapping turtle? Are there other large turtles like this that are not snappers???

      • Hi Silvia – It is likely a snapping turtle. There is no reason to be alarmed; like most wild animals, if you leave him alone, he’ll leave you alone. You can also set a turtle trap and relocate him to another pond. Turtles tend to migrate from pond to pond, so your pond may have just been a stopping point on his way.

      • thank you, Mel, for taking the time to respond. I did do a thorough read of this blog but still wasn’t sure whether or not this was a snapping turtle. From other research I did, tho, it sounds like the size alone indicates that’s exactly what it is! Thanks to you, I will continue my relaxing and meditative swims in my beautiful pond and hopefully transmit good vibes to the turtle as well . . .

    • I have a baby snapper in my small backyard pond. What do I do with the turtle in the fall/winter. I live in Northern Ohio….

    • do u know anything about read ear slider turtles I
      I live in west virginia and it freezes here can they live in the cold pond in winter

      • Hi Lisa – Red Ear Slider turtles will hibernate (or brumate) in shallow waters for the winter. They will start move less and stay towards the bottom of your pond once temps dip below about 50°F. To ensure there is enough oxygen in the water, I recommend adding a deicer or aerator to your pond. This will keep a hole open in the ice so gas exchange can occur.

    • Snapping turtles don’t attack ducks????? Really????

      I don’t care whether the very large turtle trying to pull my large adult Pekin duck was intent upon eating him or just killing him.

      Luckily I was out near the 1 acre pond this morning and (like a previous post) noticed Drako struggling in the water. I yelled for him, started to get the canoe out, then noticed that he was making headway to the island, so I grabbed an oar and ran over the bridge to the island. He seemed to have his foot entangled in something dragging him down. I reached to see what had him caught and screamed when I saw the 15″ snapping turtle clamped on his leg. I bashed the turtle with the oar, and he let go.

      Although he can swim, he holds his right leg up with only his foot paddling and cannot walk on his leg. I figure that he sprained it when struggling with the turtle and when the turtle an I were playing tug of war over him. When I picked him up and looked at the webbed foot, he had only redness and abrasion on two toes. He is resting in a crate for the time being, and I hope the smaller call duck stays by him and out of the water until we can trap or otherwise get this turtle.

      This was a snapping turtle, and if I hadn’t been there to help, Drako would have been killed. Turtles do attack adult ducks!!!!!
      We have ducks to help control the duckweed in the pond. And we have our suspicions about our fish disappearances recently. Yes, turtles may have some benefits, but so do ducks and fish.

      Just afterward, my dog was baying up and then trying to dig up some waterline den on a nearby shore. Do snapping turtles make or use such nests?

      • Snapping Turtles do make nests but they tend to be farther away from a water source than you might expect. As for your fish disappearances, snapping turtles tend to go for fish that are slow due to age or disease.

      • You bet your life snapping turtles kill and eat any thing that they can bring down. They killed and eat all the cat fish and brim out of my well stocked pond. Now they are working on the ducks. They have killed several and torn the foot off of two. I trapped several but they just keep coming. I have tried every thing but there is 5 ponds within 1/4 mile of my house and they are all full of snappers.

    • As a zoologist I applaud your effort to portray the snapping turtle as an important part of the ecosystem. Certainly they are not “monsters”. However it does not help to make untrue statements to make it seem that the snapping turtle is not a predator. In my own pond, I’ve witnessed a snapping turtle pull down a swimming adolescent duck. They are predators, certainly, and if you have a pond with ducks and snappers, expect predation.

    • Thank you for this insightful read!

    • Sorry but I watched a snapping turtle drag a full sized adult Canadian goose under the water. They simply do eat them. They will eat whatever they can put in there mouth. Too many people have witnessed this. Maybe you just haven’t. Yet.

  17. A snapping turtle discovered my backyard ornamental pond about 1 1/2 weeks before I discovered him. I knew something was eating my lilies but never imagined it would be a snapping turtle. One day at dawn I saw him on the rock bed around the edge of my pond. I knew he had to go because I love my liles and I was concerned that my goldfish would become sushi. I was very lucky when, within a couple of hours, I found him in the grass outside the pond. I caught him easily and transported him in a bucket to the river several miles away. I’m sure he is much happier with so many more possibilities for a new home.

  18. I have a very old female snapper, Mrs. Turtle, whose home has been my pond for over 20 years. She shows her face every June 15 or 16 like clockwork and comes to the edge to say her greeting and eat the fish food right alongside my fish. I have actually never seen her eat any fish in my pond and other than tiny bluegill babies early in the season, that is all that disappears. I have 75 albino catfish and a mixture of bright orange Koi. Many of my fish are recognizable each year by markings. But this turtle is so smart…she will follow me all along the pond as I move from one side to another, or on my bridge (she goes under water and pops up where I am). BTW my pond is about 1/4 acre. I don’t understand why it’s necessary to shoot these beautiful creatures when just feeding them fish food every nite does the trick. Plus, it’s amazing to see them look at you and respond. Give them a chance … not all of them are Baaaddd.

    • I’m happy to hear you have such a welcomed addition to your pond. I’m sure Mrs. Turtle appreciates your caring company!

    • I also have koi in my pond along with a lot of bluegill and some carp. In the warmer weather I feed them daily. I go out and lay on my dock and reach my hand down with bread. The bread dipped into the water, the fish, all of them small and large will come and eat the bread directly out of my hand. This is my favorite part of the day. I know that we’ve had snapping turtle in our pond for years…but he’s not been spotted for the last couple years, and when he was spotted before that he was in the middle of the pond, and you could just barely make out what it was. Anyway, tonight as I am feeding my fish I look straight down and see this strange large head about the size of my clenched fist looking up at me. Startled me at first but realized that I was looking in the eyes of a large snapping turtle..he was wanting some bread…..he kinda scared me so I wasn’t sure If I wanted my hands down that far anymore…so I tossed him a piece…what the bluegill didn’t grab, the turtle was able to grab a piece….and continued watching me. I am wondering if eventually he’ll eat out of my hand as well? By the way, as far as ducks, we’ve had ducks for the last 15 years, and this turtle was there all that time, we’ve never had any ducks babies or grown eaten, and never had any fish come up missing.

  19. We have had several Snappers this year [2010] We had never seen a turtle in this pond for the past 9 years. We have removed 3 this year and have at least one more that we have not been able to catch. Why so many this year?

    • It may be something as simple as a change in habitat or food availability. If your pond was new or perhaps the surrounding landscape has changed over time it may have created a more suitable habitat which the turtles may find diserable.

  20. Someone said they saw a turtle in my pond. I have been watching but have not seen one. Could someone tell me how they know that they have a turtle in their pond, other than seeing it?

    • Hi Shiela,

      Turtles will spend a good deal of time under water, but will need to come to the surface to breathe. Like all turtles, these turtles have lungs and need to breathe air. But turtles don’t need to breathe as often as humans do. Some pond and marsh turtles take only one breath an hour. Just keep an eye out for its head above the water. If you find that you have a turtle in your pond that you do not want, they can be trapped, using a Turtle Trap, and removed a good distance away so they don’t return. They will eat vegetation and small mammals, so if you had floating lilies that were being shredded or small ducklings suddenly missing, that would be an indication that you had a turtle present in your pond.

  21. We have for the first time discovered we have a snapping turtle in our pond. We now have a turtle trap set in hopes of catching him. Unfortunately he ate all the water lillies we purchased from your company this summer. So I am really bummed!

  22. another way to remove snapping turtles from a pond is with a .22 caliber rifle–works very well & quickly

  23. Yes, I have trouble with snappers. I have my small pond stocked with blue Gills and Wide Mouth bass and Gamboushi (sp?) a.k.a. mosquito fish. The snappers will lie in the mud out of sight except for part of their pointed heads and grab their dinner as it swims by. Because I have a small pond (1/4 acre) my bass population is limited. I like to catch and release with them as well as the Blue gills – primarily for my grand kids. They get the thrills. I have found the snappers will respond to the fish when they get into a feeding frenzy when I give them stale bread and they will come to find out what all the excitement is about. Then I can resort to polulation control.

    I have tried to catch them but it seems they are too smart and the really big ones can tear up a rather substantial trap if it is not steel. Therefore, I have to shoot the snappers.

    I find a 0.45 cal Glock used over the rail of my dock when feeding the fish is a rather effective snapper population control device.

  24. We have a snapper that comes around every year. “Old Moe” has been coming around for years, we last saw him/her in July for about two weeks straight. Since the snappers are migratory, I always tell my wife that he/she will only eat the slow dumb fish and frogs and then move on. In any case we haven’t seen him since July, so I think he has already left our pond. I have heard lots of horror stories, but we haven’t seen if they are true yet. I would hate to have to trap “old Moe”….

    • I’m with you about Old Moe. My turtle, Mrs. Turtle, is an amazing part of my eco system and enjoyment. She waits patiently with her head poked above water in the same spot every single night for fish feeding time. She looks straight at me and even raises her head and body way out of the water when I talk to her in a familiar voice. I consider her a pet and she feeds right along the fish. No one seems bothered and I’ve never seen her snap at a fish, even when one comes right in front of her mouth. She shows up in June and usually stays through August, disappears for a couple weeks and returns in September before burrowing for the season. I could no more hurt this prehistoric creature than one of my own pets. I think the horror stories are exaggerated; unless things like baby ducklings are in your pond. Enjoy old moe and get to know her. My turtle is over 45 years old (by markings). This is her home and the fish are fine!

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