Last Updated on January 25, 2020 by Cooper Fulton
What Do Turtles Eat In A Pond?
Pond turtles are an omnivorous species, it entails vegetation and invertebrate meat as a source of protein. So what do turtles eat in a pond?
Carnivorous nature involves worms, crayfish, amphibian larvae, dead fish, small fish, mollusks, worms, insects and their larvae, frog, tadpole, and crustaceans.
However, herbivorous nature is fulfilled by aquatic plants (floating and submerged), vegetables (like carrots, lettuce, cucumber, cabbage, and spinach), green leafy plants, fallen leaves, and algae.
Pond turtle requires different alternating food at different intervals throughout the day.
Some species need protonated food in their juvenile state to develop properly. Some species are completely herbivorous and some become herbivorous at maturity.
The food I use for my pond turtles is the Mazuri Turtle Food, this is a great supplement for your turtles and will ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need.
Purely aquatic species favor food in a body fo water, while others can be fed on a dry surface.
While keeping pond turtles as a pet, one should provide water douched food to the pond turtle.
It will help the pond turtle adapt to its new environment.
Size of Pond Turtles
Their size may range from the smallest (3 inches and 140 g) to the largest (80 inches and 900 kg) recorded for Speckled padloper and leatherback Dermochelys coriacea respectively.
Freshwater representatives are the smallest, while seawater representatives are the largest ones. Their size variation depends on the number of nutrients available to them.
Just like your bones, a turtle’s shell is actually part of its skeleton. It’s made up of over 50 bones which include the turtle’s rib cage and spine.
Morphology of Pond Turtles
A turtle is composed of a modified rib cage and vertebrae forming a complicated interconnected shell.
There are two parts of shell upper carapace and lower plastron. Shell bones are covered with keratin-containing, plate-like scutes/ bridges.
Scutes have an amazing regenerative ability to heal the damaged shell.
Interconnected bones show that turtle cannot leave its shell anywhere or shed it like other animals.
Varying pigmentation pattern is found on the turtle’s skin because of melanin content.
Commonly they are brown, black, and green in color with varying colored spots or lines.
Their dome-shaped shell creates difficulty to crush it with jaw by predators.
Large spaces between the shell bones make turtle lightweight and help to swim in the water.
Pond turtles have eyes closed to their top side of the head. They have glands near their eyes to excrete salty tears getting rid of extra salt.
A large number of rod cells in their retina provide them exceptional night vision.
A wealth of cone subtypes sensing ultraviolet to red light provides them a high color vision spectrum.
Pond turtles have a rigid beak and jaws are used to cut and chew food.
They lack teeth and possess horny serrated ridges that slice their food or prey.
Their tongue helps to swallow their food rather than sticking insects like other reptiles.
The outer layer of the shell is made up of skin which may undergo molting.
This dead skin is often seen in ponds or aquariums as a small layer of the plastic piece.
The dead skin is usually sloughed off as turtle rubs its skin to logs or rocks found in a pond.
Pond turtle shed a lot of skin that accumulates in the knobs and plates that provide protection to the outer layer of the shell.
Predators or Enemies of Pond Turtles
There are all sorts of predators and enemies of pond turtles.
Pond turtles are a prey of variety of organisms like raccoon, rice, falcons, hawks, otters, ospreys, coyotes, alligators, crows, vultures, muskrats, grackles, ring-billed gulls, great blue heron, catfish, dogs, red-winged blackbirds, rice rats, foxes, weasels, bullfrogs, non-native crayfish, and large fish.
Pond turtles are more vulnerable to predators in their hatching period.
As they are weak, small in size, and slow in movement so they can easily be captured by their predators.
After hatching from the egg they need to reach a body of water as early as possible to avoid their predators.