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June 2011 Editor's Note

Outdoor ponds for healthy turtles.

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Louisiana House Bill 1354 Now with Senate

On page 20, you’ll find “Backyard Oasis,” Kurt Buhlmann’s article about building an outdoor turtle pond. Providing pet turtles with an outdoor pond is one of the absolute best things you can do for them. If you have the space to do so, it is highly recommended because an outdoor pond will provide ample space and major health benefits, due primarily to exposure to pure, unfiltered sunlight. Of course, there are safety issues to remember. When keeping your turtles outside, for instance, you must ensure that predators, such as raccoons, cannot get to them. A friend of mine lost two Russian tortoises in an outdoor pen to raccoons, and it was not a pretty sight. Obviously, you also want to prevent your turtles from escaping the pond area. In his article, Kurt provides sage advice regarding these things and more. After reading it, you’ll have all the info you need prior to taking shovel to soil.

“Backyard Oasis” focuses on building a naturalistic turtle pond, but people who lack sufficient acreage can also create an outdoor retreat for their turtles. At the very least, if you don’t have the space or inclination to construct a pond, consider setting up a turtle pool using a plastic children’s wading pool. If you don’t get too fancy with decorations, they’re easy to clean, too: Just dump ‘em, hose ‘em and refill ‘em!


If possible, try to expose your turtles to unfiltered sunlight at least several hours a week.