Thank you for getting back to me. Your climate sounds favorable for the turtle’s survival. Chances are this turtle is a new hatchling.When they hatch, they go looking for a new wet home. This one found your pond. Turtles hibernate in the winter. They prefer to bury themselves in mud or leaf litter. Most actually leave the water and hibernate in the soil near it. A few hibernate in the pond. Survival is less likely if he tries to do that in a pond with no leaf litter. However, there is a good chance he will exit the pond just for that reason. I think he has just as good of a chance to survive the winter as any other turtle.
Hibernation is actually a dangerous time for them. If they don’t prepare properly by discontinue to eat, infection can set in. If they don’t eat enough over the summer to build up fat stores, they can starve. But most have good instincts to prevent those things. The biggest danger is predators. Raccoons,dogs, foxes, and even crows will dig up a hibernating turtle. I’m not telling you this to discourage you, but only so you’ll know if he doesn’t make it, it isn’t your fault. I do think he has an excellent chance.
You’re welcome. Perhaps you could place rocks in a way to provide a ramp out.
In case you decide to bring him in, I’m going to give you a caresheet I’ve written for slider turtles, so you’ll know what to do with him. Don’t rely on pet store staff as they usually give out incorrect information, and try to sell you a kit that is inadequate.
SLIDER TURTLE CARE SHEET
Well-cared for sliders can live 30 years or more.
It's recommended that a baby slider have at least a 15 gallon tank. By the time the turtle is 3-4 years old, it will need a 60 gallon tank, so it's best to get the biggest you can in the beginning. You can also use a large RubberMaid tote. That's not as pretty as a tank, but costs a lot less. Set up the tank so there's a land area and a water area. Put the basking light at one end so the whole tank doesn’t get too hot. You want the water to be about twice as deep as the turtle is long. If the turtle is two inches long, you'll want four inches of water.
Temperatures and Basking Area
Turtles need certain types of lighting and need to be warm. Air and water that are not warm enough can lead to fungal and respiratory infections and unhealthy shells. Turtles must have a basking area where they can get out of the water, dry off, and bask in very warm light. The ambient air temperature in the tank should be around 75 *F (24*C) , with the basking area warmer still. Over the basking area there should be some sort of lamp that will take a 40-60 watt incandescent bulb (or you can buy a ceramic light fixture made just for reptiles). If you live in an area that has farm stores, you can buy a metal light fixture made to keep baby chicks warm for just a few dollars. Don't buy the accompanying bulb, however. You need an ordinary incandescent bulb in the basking light. Hardware stores sell similar fixtures as work lights. The basking area should be kept at 85-90*F (29 to 32*C). Use a digital probe thermometer to be sure. You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the light fixture.The lights that come with the covers on aquariums are not suitable for turtles. You'll also need a submersible aquarium heater that will keep the water 78-82*F (26 to 28*C).
It's extremely important that you buy an additional light that produces UVB rays. A Reptisun 10.0 is a good brand that does. If you choose another brand be absolutely certain it provides UVB rays. Don't take the word of pet store personnel, but read it for yourself. Full-spectrum, DayGlo, SunGlo, UV, or UVA are not the same thing. I'm putting a lot of emphasis on this because it's crucial to your turtle's health. Without this light, Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD) will develop because your turtle won't be able to produce vitamin D. Vitamin supplements are not a good replacement for the proper lighting. MBD causes a very slow and painful death.UVB bulbs must be replaced every six months as they lose their effectiveness after that, even though they may still look fine. Light that comes through a window isn't sufficient because the glass filters out most of the rays turtles need to stay healthy. To prevent MBD, turtles also need calcium. The easiest way to provide it is to place a cuttlebone in the tank. Cuttlebones are sold in bird departments of pet stores.
Turtles are very sensitive to water quality. Even if you change the water every day, it can still contain harmful chemicals. A good filtration system is essential. Water changes are also needed even with a filter. If the tank is too small, no filter can keep up with the amount of waste that turtles produce.
Feeding is an area where pet stores often give out bad information. Commercial food should make up only 1/4 of the diet. Animal products (cooked meat, earthworms, canned cat food) should make up another 1/4. The remaining half should be plant foods (dark lettuce like romaine, bits of strawberry or melon, etc.). Hatchlings should be fed every day. Older turtles should be fed 3 times per week. Overfeeding can lead to gout and kidney failure.
For Further Reading
This is among the most reputable sites on turtles.
You’re very welcome. I love turtles and am always happy to help with one.
He probably could get out, especially since he will grow over the summer.
Did you have another question? All that came through was two question marks.
Ok. Thanks for letting me know.
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