Top Ten Tips for Terrapins that Live in a Pond
- Terrapins ideally need a pond that’s 18inches deep in the middle, and that tapers out to land at the edge so that they can get in and out easily as well as have enough depth to swim.
- Crates are Great – Use a plastic crate, with the front and an end or two cut out, as a den for your pond terrapins. Place the crate in the bottom of the pond and they will use it as a hiding place year round as well as to hibernate in during the cold weather.
- Wood is Good – Terrapins love a log placed across the pond and will use it to sunbathe. It is very important to choose a log from a fruit tree as other logs could release poisonous sap that would contaminate the pond and be potentially lethal for your terrapin. We cut our logs in half on the length and the drilled holes in them so that we could tie them together using copper wire that shouldn’t rust.
- When you first set-up your pond you’ll need to use ‘Pond Guardian’ – a general pond salt. Allow 1 tsp per gallon of water and it works as a great antiseptic should any injury occur. We top up in the spring, adding about half the initial amount and you should also do this should your pond suffer a great water loss for some reason. The salt will also help prevent the pond from freezing over in the winter.
- Fairy Moss(duck weed) or, as my daughter insists on calling it, ‘Angel weed’ is really good stuff. Allow it to cover about half of the pond and it will provide a tasty snack.
- It’s all about location. Before you start digging your pond, take some time to think about the best spot in your garden. Take into consideration that it needs maximum sun and no overhanging trees that will create too much shade and drop leaves/blossom etc. into the pond.
- Finishing touches – Remember to include some shelves around the inner edge of your pond for putting plants and you could also build some really cool terrapin steps using engineering bricks so they have another way of climbing in and out of the pond.
- Keep it clean. You’ll need a really good filter – we use two Green Genies with built-in 25watt UV bulbs in our pond that measures 18’ by 9’, one at each end and each one also needs a pump to run it.
- Escapees – Terrapins are amazing escape artists and are very inquisitive. Make sure you block access under sheds etc. to avoid your shelled buddy getting underneath where he could get stuck.
10. Your terrapin will need a good mix of vegetables, fruit (non-acidic), dried Krill/Shrimp and spinach, lettuce and cabbage leaves. You can also feed them dried fish or white bait, both available from the fishmongers at a reasonable price, we found that dried food is much cheaper if bought over the internet