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Last week, my neighbor lost 2 of his red eared sliders from the outdoor pond. It was a coyote attack. I repeatedly told him to build security fences, but he paid no heed. Well, I hope this does not happen to you. That’s why I am writing this blog to give you tips on protecting outdoor ponds from predators.
Building a fence is the basic way to keep outdoor pond turtles safe. You can install blinking lights or motion sensors to scare away the predators. Pest controllers are also good for keeping turtles safe. A watchdog will also guard the turtles from predators.
I have discussed more on each protection method below.
- Raccoons, coyotes, skunks, and birds are the potential turtle predators.
- You must build a fence around the pond or cover the top with a strong net to keep the wild animals away.
- Set up traps or sensors to scare away the predators.
What To Do To Protect The Outdoor Turtle Pond From Predators?
I have come up with 10 different ways to secure your outdoor turtle pond. Obviously, you can not set them all up, nor can you afford each one of these. Therefore, I recommend you read the suggestions and select one or two methods according to your housing design and budget.
1. Usual Fencing: The Basic One
This method is the most popular one and always fits the budget. All you have to do is build wooden or wire fences around the pond. I discourage wire fences as turtles are excellent climbers.
Wooden fences are comparatively safer but slightly more expensive. The ideal height of these walls is two or three times higher than the length of the turtle’s carapace.
Besides, make sure the fence is dug 6 to 10 inches underground. Otherwise, the walls will be unstable and tripped over anytime.
2. Electric Fences: The Fancy Method
The wooden walls around the pond can really ruin the aesthetics. Hence, many keepers prefer wire fencing and to make it more effective by introducing electric current to it.
I know. Electric fences sound inhumane. Yet, farms and keepers with exotic turtles in the outdoor ponds support this security system. The law also allows these fences as long as the electric shock is not life-threatening.
You can convert the regular wires into an electric fence with a controller.
A device with 1.2 joules output can emit a powerful and painful shock. The controllers can run on AC or DC sources. Some models allow solar charging, too.
Usually, the electric fences are built at a considerable distance from the habitat. Yet, there is a risk of the turtles getting electrocuted. I mean, what if the pets decide to take a stroll and reach the fences? You really can not help them.
Besides, the electric fences pose a big health hazard if you have children at home. I am not a fan of this method. However, this is the most effective way of protecting the turtles for breeding farms. The owners usually turn on the fences at sunrise and turn them off in the morning.
3. Top Net: Keeping The Birds Away
If your region mostly deals with crows and vultures, focus more on the roofing. I have covered my outdoor turtle pond roof with fishing nets and posts. These nets are lightweight yet strong enough to hold any predators.
Crows and other birds usually fly directly to the turtle pond, planning to steal the eggs or a hatchling. The net covering will catch the predators instantly. You can free the bird later.
4. Decoys: A Fun Protection
Do not throw away the Halloween decoys. They will come in handy, saving your turtles from the wild animals.
Just mount the feathered crow or raccoon decoy on the walls or hang it on the trees. If you can move the toys, it is a plus. The waving decoys will scare the predators away from the premises, and your turtles will be safe.
However, this cheap method does not work all the time. The predators are cunning, too. Take the foxes and coyotes as examples. Soon, they might realize that the decoys are fake and that moving past them does no harm.
Therefore, I recommend you build strong fences as protection anyway.
5. Ultrasound Protector: An Expensive Buy
Have you seen the ultrasonic pest controller in Walmart? Yes, this device also comes in handy in protecting turtles from predators. Such pest controllers use ultrasonic frequency to keep the wild animals out of the premises.
There is a dial pad on the device. You can set the frequency and duration from there.
Set the pest controller at a certain height.
For example, if your main target is raccoons, install the device 15″ above the ground. Likewise, mounting the pest controller 8 to 12 feet high will deter raptors.
You can install multiple ultrasonic pest controllers around the pond to scare predators away. Turn the devices on during the sundown, and they will turn off automatically in the morning.
Animals can pick up ultrasound frequency, and it hurts their ears. So they will not come closer to the pond. But also make sure the low-key noise does not harm your turtles or the neighbors.
6. Blinking Light: The Fooling Method
You will find blinking lights in Walmart. Turn these small bulbs on in the evening and set them off in the morning.
The blinking lights mimic the eyes of nocturnal animals. So, any predator approaching the pond will get an alarm beforehand. They will retreat, thinking that something is already on the premises and going in will only cause chaos.
I have installed these guard lights along with the fences.
7. Setting Up Traps: A Bit Pricey
Many keepers install small traps for raccoons, coyotes, and skunks around the pond. This helps them confine the animals and release them afterward. But those cages are expensive, and predators can easily avoid the traps. So, this method is a big no for me.
8. Motion Sensor Lights: An Easy Catch
I absolutely love these lights. They are programmed to sense any movement and spot bright light in the direction. The sudden brightness will scare away predators approaching the pond.
9. Motion Detector Alarm: A Loud Trap
These are similar to the light sensors. Instead of lights, these devices will make loud noises. Any predator on the premises will run away immediately.
10. Get Dogs: The Natural Protector
I can totally understand if you are not a dog person. But get one if possible. Your pet dogs will guard the ponds in the night and keep the predators away from the pond.
You may think turtles and dogs do not get along, which is not entirely true. In one of my previous blogs, I showed how turtles can live harmoniously with other species. Allow the pets enough time to be friends, and they will always stand up for each other.
What Are The Potential Predators For Outdoor Turtles?
Unfortunately, your outdoor pond turtles are not safe from any animals. Raccoons and coyotes pose the most danger for my pets outside. But I can not ignore the mice, rats, stray dogs, foxes, raptors, skunks, and voles. Crows and vultures also prey on turtles in some areas, such as Texas.
These predators are pretty cunning. They initiate the attack mostly in the night when no one is around. The foxes, skunks, and dogs can dig out the nest, feasting on the clutches. Coyotes and raccoons love eating small turtles.
Crows and vulture-like birds fly in quickly and fly out, stealing the egg or turtle. You can barely beat their speed.
Well, it is not always true that predators prey in the darkness. Sometimes, they keep an eye on the pond and the house simultaneously. These wild animals will come for a feast as soon as they realize the owners are not home or around.
Outdoor turtle pond setup guide infographic
For a printable version of this infographic, click here!
Before You Go…
Well, keeping the outdoor turtles safe from predators is indeed important. But do not forget to make the pond cozy and comfortable for the pets. I have talked about different aspects of the turtle’s ideal outdoor pond in the article attached below.