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Turtles/fallow up: turtle pond


QUESTION: Hello, me again with a new question.
So I was going to make a final clean of my turtle tank before I moved them to a pond, so I was cleaning my turtles tank outside and my sister was watching my turtles, and long story short, she got distracted and now both turtles are in my pond. My dad and I ended up just building a fence around it.
That was a little over a week ago.
just to remind you: 2, 5 year old slider turtles (female: Yellow Bellied, Male: RES) they were out there for a few days, happily swimming, but they haven't been basking or anything. Then it got pretty cold for one night and I did not see them the next day.
I also put some rosy red minnows and some feeder goldfish in the pond the day after they got in there. and a couple of goldfish died when it got cold. the day after I did not see either of them, I was cleaning the pond and it was pretty warm, and the male popped up for a couple of hours and then went back under and I have not seen him for a couple of days either, the weather was lower 50's.
I have not seen either of them for 2-3 days and have not seen the female for about 5. It has been storming quite a bit.
Addition info: I turned on the waterfall/filtration system on today and it is in the 80's, but I have still not seen them. It is supposed to be in the 70's/80's for most of the week.
Is it weird that I have not seen them? If not, when should I see them. I check very frequently.
To remind you, my pond is 1000 gallons, established for about 12 years, shallow: slightly under 2 feet. Deep: around 6 feet. the temperature of the pond is close to 60 and the pH is normal. And the female may be gravid.
Thank you so much!

ANSWER: Hi Melissa,

If the weather was colder, it wouldn't be surprising that you didn't see them, especially since they're not that used to the cooler weather yet.  Since it's now warmed up, if you didn't see them today you should in the next day or two.  It'll take them a couple of weeks to get acclimated to being outside, and then you should see normal behavior from them.  You'd be most likely to see them basking in the morning when the sun is first warming the ground up, and then periodically throughout the day.  Let me know what happens!

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thank you! I saw the male right after I asked this question!
Still no sign of the girl, but it is REALLY hot today, so hopefully I will see her later.
I have an aquaintence who has a 4 year old male RES and a same size common snapping turtle in a 10 gallon tank with a couple of inches of water, and no light or substrate. I feel really bad for them! He wants to either leave them in there or let them go. I was wondering if I could put them in my pond. I would rather rescue two turtles than hatch two any day!

If I could, is there an appropriate way to introduce a new male turtle? and would a snapper require anything different?

ANSWER: Hi Melissa,

If it's really hot they may spend most of their time in the water, so look for the female later in the day when the sun isn't so strong.  I forgot to ask if there are shady areas on the bank--if there are, they may bask for a bit and then move into the shade.

Putting a snapping turtle in your pond would be a bad idea.  It would eat all the fish, and very possibly kill your other turtles.  In as small an area as it's in now, I'm surprised the RES hasn't been seriously injured.  You could add the other male to your pond, but I would be hesitant to do it just because males can be so hard on females, and two males just makes that more likely.  You could try it, but keep an eye on your female and if she starts acting too stressed (not basking or eating, hiding), you may have to do something else.

He can't let the turtles go.  For one thing, it's probably illegal, and for another, releasing captive turtles into the native environment poses a risk of introducing foreign pathogens to wild turtles (which is why it's often illegal).  What he should do is find homes for them or find a rescue that will take them.  What he shouldn't do is leave them in the tank, because one turtle in a 10 gallon tank is cruel--having two, with one being a highly aggressive species, is...well, I'm kind of speechless, put it that way!

Let me know if you see the female.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.
I haven't seen the female yet, but I did introduce the new male slider today. I went there today, and there were 3 turtles in the tank now instead of two (the new one being a smaller RES, only a few years old) so I took the bigger one, who is the same size as mine and put him in the pond this afternoon.

Now, my first male slider is kind of stalking the male. He appears to be trying to bite his face, and the other one is swimming away.
Is this normal?

I'll let you know if I see her.

Well, your acquaintance is, uh, not very smart, that's all I can say.  It'll probably take a few days for the males to settle things out, but I wouldn't worry too much since your pond is so big.  Crowded conditions can cause a lot of aggression problems, but you have enough room that there shouldn't be a problem.  Leave them alone and they'll settle down.


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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