I'm going to put my red eared sliders in an outside pond. What is good for liner. Just a pond liner, concrete, or pond

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Customer: I'm going to put my red eared sliders in an outside pond. What is good for liner. Just a pond liner, concrete, or pond liner with concrete overlay. Also want this to be permanent. Is it too cold in my area to winter them. They are native here, if I winter them how deep does the pond need to be? I live in Northern Alabama. Winters aren't to harsh but we do have some real cold spells. Most of the time it's not below freezing more than 4 to 5 days at one time. Usually get the cold nights with above freezing in daytime.
Answered by Anna in 9 hours 11 years ago
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Anna
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17,038 satisfied customers

Specialities include: Reptile Veterinary, Herp Veterinary, Exotic Animal Medicine, Amphibian Veterinary

Hello,

I'm sorry to see that no one has responded to your question earlier. Different experts come online at various times; I just came online and saw your question.

It's wise of you to research this before starting. Ponds are an excellent habitat for turtles, but there are some considerations. In the north, where it gets and stays cold, turtles hibernate for the winter. In the south, where temperatures fluctuate, things are harder on them. They wake up, go back to hibernation, spend a few days being sluggish, and repeat this over and over. Hibernation is a dangerous time, even for wild turtles who have adapted to outdoors and can find the optimal places for hibernation. For domestic turtles in man-made ponds, the risks are even greater. Turtles can suffocate, starve if they don't have enough fat built up, develop fatal bacterial infections if they eat too close to hibernation time, and be killed by toxins that build up in the water. There is no way to absolutely ensure that your turtles will survive the winter. There are ways to increase the chances that they will. There must be at least one foot of unfrozen water at the bottom of the pond. There must be something to dig in on the bottom, so an earth-filled box would work. The water must have adequate oxygen in it - turtles absorb it through their skin when hibernating. It's a good idea to have an electric de-icer on the pond's surface to allow oxygen in and the detrimental gases out. The following site has more details on turtle ponds:

http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/turpond.htm


Turtles also must be properly conditioned for hibernation, and should be examined by a reptile vet in the fall to be sure they're fit to hibernate. There's more about that here:

http://happyturtle.ms11.net/hibernation.html

The time leading up to hibernation is also risky. If you ahve an extended period of damp weather with temperatures in the 40's to 60's, the turtle will become less active, but it's not cold enough to trigger hibernation. Skin and shell infections and respiratory infections are common in those circumstances.

Besides hibernation, there are a couple of other problems you may encounter with outdoor housing. One is that your turtle is likely to simply leave. They go off seeking mates the first chance they get. A small fence a few feet out from the pond will be needed. Many people make a rock or concrete block wall just tall enough to keep in a turtle. Predators often injure or kill turtles that live outdoors. Raccoons are the most common offenders, and they will chew off feet, and destroy shells. Dogs will grab a basking turtle and carry it off, thinking it's a toy. The site I gave you above on pond design has some tips to minimize these problems.

With hot summers, the pond needs to be deep enough to provide cooler water, and it would be good if one part of it is in the shade. Three feet of water int he deepest part should be adequate.

If you have more questions, just let me know by clicking on REPLY. I'm not trying to discourage you, but just want you to be aware of potential problems so you can circumvent them.

Anna

(If you find my answer helpful, please click on the green ACCEPT button. Thank you.)
Customer
Ok thanks for that info. But what about a liner, I've heard just a pond liner is not enough because turtles may cut it with their claws. I've also heard concrete can be hard on their shells. I found a book that says concrete over liners are the way to go, it suggest a plastic cement that has some latex in it that keeps it from cracking. This is applied to the liner with chicken wire in it and is about an inch thick. Never heard of this before and was wondering. A concrete would be expensive and very permanent. But I also don't want to have turtles cut a liner.
First of all, there's no need to click on accept again. Thank you for accepting above.

Concrete is very hard on the turtles' shells. It also tends to crack after several years, and that can lead to leaks. Pond liners come in different thicknesses. Chances of a turtle cutting the thicker ones with their claws are very slim. I have a pond and artificial stream constructed of liner. Raccoons, which have big sharp claws, walk in it and have never torn it. Yes, it's something that could happen, but it isn't likely. They do make liner repair kits, so if it did happen, you wouldn't have to replace the whole liner. This site, which I gave you above, has a section on liners, along with much other information on turtle ponds:

http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/turpond.htm


Ultimately, there is no one right answer as to the best liner. It's a decision you'll have to make for your own situation. If it were my decision, I'd go with the heaviest liner, but that's just my opinion.

Anna
Customer

Thanks for the info. I have found alot but not got much info from some of it. I appreciate the link it does have some valueable info.

Thanks again,

Jeremy

You're welcome, Jeremy. I hope your pond construction goes well, no matter which method you choose.

Anna
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