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Backyard Oasis

How to build a fetching and functional turtle pond.

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For many who love turtles, an interest in chelonians began during childhood, while sloshing through some swamp or marsh, or walking along a pond’s edge. Although attracted to turtles, other animals, such as frogs, newts, small fish and dragonfly larvae, were also part of the appeal. We might have brought it all home in buckets, much to our mothers’ delight (or not). Keeping all that stuff alive in either a bucket or in a 10-gallon aquarium on the back porch was always a challenge for me as a child. Even if I used the latest filter system, all the little critters eventually got sucked up in the filter or eaten by something else. I always wanted to recreate the entire pond, not just keep the turtles. When I was 10, my dad and I built a 6-foot-diameter concrete pond and surrounded it with aluminum siding from an old above-ground swimming pool. I spent quite a lot of time in that little enclosure as a kid, fascinated with whatever I could temporarily keep in there.

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