Best Turtles for outdoor pond in Southern California?

Ghazan

Active Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
136
Recently had a 800-1000 gallon pond built with a waterfall in my backyard. What are some good options in Southern California for aquatic or semi-aquatic turtles that can live outdoors all year, it's north facing area with sun through 2pm, then complete shade in the afternoon?

Not really interested in RES, they get quite big (which may be better against predators), but I see them everywhere, possibly mexican ornate or rio grande sliders. Couple smaller turtles I'm interested in learning more about - diamond back terrapin, NA wood turtles, spotted turtle, or pink belly sidenecks.

Any local breeders for some of these species I mention, rather buy local then ship cross country? Still in the very early stages but want to start researching ...
 

Attachments

  • IMG_6260.jpg
    IMG_6260.jpg
    3.8 MB · Views: 41

Toddrickfl1

Well-Known Member
Tortoise Club
5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 7, 2018
Messages
7,102
Location (City and/or State)
Ga
Your probably going to want to get one of the basking species otherwise you might not hardly ever see them. Diamond back terrapins are brackish water turtles and will probably not do well in a pond unless you plan on adding salt frequently. Na wood turtles are highly protected and in most states you cannot own one. You cannot keep Spotted turtles in many places either I would check your laws in your state first. They also aren't the greatest swimmers and sometimes don't do well in deep ponds. Sliders or painted turtles will definitely probably be your best option.
 

enchilada

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
May 3, 2014
Messages
787
Location (City and/or State)
Newport Beach CA
Which part of Soutern California you live ?
If you live in coastal areas of Southern California, basically anything legal is ok .
 

Millerlite

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Joined
Nov 20, 2008
Messages
2,667
Location (City and/or State)
Southern Calif.
Our weather is very favorable for many different species. I love keeping musk and mud turtles in CA. Map turtles too might be something for a pond your size. How deep is it?

Kyle
 

Yvonne G

Old Timer
TFO Admin
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
93,484
Location (City and/or State)
Clovis, CA
@Markw84 has a beautiful pond in Central California. He's the one to ask.
 

Markw84

Well-Known Member
10 Year Member!
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
5,099
Location (City and/or State)
Sacramento, CA (Central Valley)
Any native US turtle could be a good choice. Just depends upon what you are looking for.

I would stay away from diamond back terrapins. I love them and they are perhaps the friendliest of turtles, but unless you are committed to setting up a brackish pond, they will not thrive.

I would not choose the ornate wood or pick-bellies as they are more of a tropical species and your pond will stay too cool in the winters.

I love the spotted turtles. Beautiful and very personable. The will do great as long as you have areas they can walk to the surface (sloped sides) as well as some plants growing in the water for plenty of cover. I even have some available from ones just hatched two weeks ago to ones a few years old.

Another less expensive choice would be a painted turtle. They also are quite easy to maintain in a pond, and stay smaller in size. They also get very tame and start swimming eagerly over to you when you approach for food. One of mine also love to have her back scratched and my grandkids love to oblige. I also hatch many of those each year and always have various sized ones I will let go.

The mud and musk are also small and would do well. They tend to remain quite secretive in a pond as opposed to the others I mentioned. They also are bottom dwellers, and you would not see them much in your pond. The razorback and loggerhead in particular can get quite territorial, so be careful in a smaller pond with that issue.

Maps can get larger as females. They also are one of most shy basking turtles and many will never get used to you and swim up for food like the ones above, or a cooter or slider.

Cooters are one of the best pond turtles as they thrive in a backyard pond of decent size. They do get large and are great visually in a pond if the pond is large enough to support them. I also have many of these available of all sizes. Mine are Suwannee Cooters - so the females get 14" - 16" and the males 12" -13".

Sliders are my least favorite as they are the most "aggressive" US turtle. The "aggression" is really mating behavior, and males can become quite persistent. Their behavior of grabbing another turtle by the back of the neck frequently leads to injury.

I know your original post was a month ago, but just saw this thread now with Yvonne's prompt. If you are still looking and have questions, I will be glad to help if I can. Just be sure to tag me in your reply.
 

Ghazan

Active Member
5 Year Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2016
Messages
136
Hey @Markw84 , thanks for the informative post. Do you have any picture of available turtles or what you keep? Spotted turtle - is this Clemmys guttata? they were on my list of species I was interested in. Any ideas what turtle would be best if I have 2 japanese goldfish or would they just be a meal?

I have several entry and exits into the pond with a basking rock. Not sure if you sell turtle, but do you know of any breeders in the area? I'm in Los Angeles

Thank you
 

New Posts

Top