How to Lure a Turtle

by Tanya Robertson
Turtles can often be found sunning on logs and rocks.

Turtles can often be found sunning on logs and rocks.

Turtles are naturally attracted to places offering hospitable environments for their species. Many homeowners manage to attract common turtles, such as the painted turtle or the red-eared slider to their backyards by providing the turtles with a sufficient aquatic wetland. In order to lure and keep the turtles happy, you'll need to provide a pond, adequate food sources, ample shade, and places for the turtles to bask in the sun. Natural shelters are also helpful to protect the turtles from unwanted predators.

Build a pond, if you don't already have one. It's best to hire a professional to do this for you. At a minimum, a pond intended to attract and sustain turtles should be 10 feet in diameter. The depth of the pond should be varied with some shallow places less than 3 feet, and deeper spots of at least 10 feet. The incline up to the shore should be gradual and the land around the pond should be soft, to allow the turtles to dig.

Install a water filtration pump, or a waterfall into the pond. The professional you hired to construct the pond can often do this for you. The water in the pond will need to be kept moving, so it doesn't become stagnate.

Place a floating driftwood log into the pond. The turtles will use this for sun basking and to protect themselves from land predators. The log should be at least 2 feet in length.

Introduce non-aggressive water plants into the pond. Try to use plants native to your local area. Common water plants that turtles enjoy are cattails, pickerel rush, and marginal grasses. Avoid aggressive plants -- such as water bamboo and duckweed -- that will consume your pond. Turtles have a particular fondness for eating lilies and lily pads.

Landscape the areas around the pond to provide both sun and shade. Plant trees and other vegetation to produce more shade. Cut back trees and other vegetation to produce more sun.

Add feeder fish to the pond. Guppies and minnows tend to be the most common and can be purchased from any pet store. To start, add about a dozen or two feeder fish for an average pond with a 10 foot diameter. If your pond is larger, add more feeder fish accordingly. Other food sources, such as water bugs and snails will be attracted to the pond naturally.

Wait for local turtles to seek out this new wetland. It could takes days, months, or even years, depending on where you live and how close you are to their natural environment. If your pond fails to lure turtles on its own, you can always relocate turtles to the pond yourself.

Items you will need

  • Pond
  • Filtration pump or waterfall
  • Floating driftwood log
  • Variety of native water plants
  • Feeder fish

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/ Images