Advice on turtle and backyard enclosure

Discussion in 'DIY Zone' started by Leo the long-neck, May 2, 2020.

  1. Leo the long-neck

    Leo the long-neck New Member

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    New to the forum - I live in northwest Sydney and am thinking about getting a turtle in a large suburban backyard and seeking advice on the best type of turtle suited and about the plans for building the enclosure.

    This is the area where the enclosure will be. Bamboo on the left, and a garage on the right. Its boundaries are the sandstone path and the wall of the garage. There is already a small pond (next to the dark green grassy plants).
    Turtle enclosure photo-1.jpg
    Turtle enclosure photo-2.jpg
    I have a rough idea, to dig a second pond joining it to the small pond around 1.5m x 2m x 60-80cm deep in size, and line it with a pond liner because there might be an issue with a pipe (hence the variance in depth). Will the addition of the second pond be enough for a turtle?

    I have had a look at the patterns of the sun and it gets dappled sunlight 7-3:30 with the most sun from 9:00-11:00. Is this enough sunlight for the turtle?

    Thanks heaps!
     
  2. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    Hello. The best species for your setup and area is an ELN (Chelodina longicollis).
    Your planned pond dimensions are pretty close to spot on... just it needs to be at least 90cm deep at the shallowest point. This allows for a stable water temperature and minimal fluctuations.
    Turtles like all reptiles are ectotherms so sunlight/warmth is extremely important. Turtles bask twice daily... in the mornings to ramp up their metabolism and late in the evening to raise their core temp before dusk. Ideally your pond should receive direct unfiltered sunlight from 7am-11am be shaded from direct overhead sunlight from.11am-2pm and receive the afternoon sun... 2pm-4pm.
     
  3. Leo the long-neck

    Leo the long-neck New Member

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    Thanks for the reply and advice.
    I can get to 90cm+ but because of the pipe that I spoke about, the depth in that spot will have to be 60cm deep. With this minor restriction, would you recommend making the pond deeper in other areas so the depth averages 90, or would a pond heater solve the water temperature problem more reliably?

    In terms of sunlight, we have a small hill with a palm tree (to the right of the green bin in the second photo) that gets sunlight most of the day. If the turtle had a clear pathway to this area, would it be sufficient?
    Thanks again.
     
  4. Flaviemys purvisi

    Flaviemys purvisi Very Well-Known Member

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    In a perfect world, you wouldn't have your turtle having to exit the actual pond itself and wander overland to find sunlight to bask... they simply wouldn't do that as turtles are vulnerable to predation out of the water. A suitable platform within the confines of the pond itself should receive direct sunlight during the morning and evening hours.

    Given the opportunity, turtles will always choose a basking site that's located within their immediate habitat and preferably surrounded on all sides by water so they can splash back to safety in a split second at the first sign of danger.

    Wild Emydura macquarii signata basking in West Creek - Toowoomba.
    20191115_153005.jpg

    If such a central location isn't available they will use a suitable platform right on the water's edge where they can also quickly return to the water. In this scenario they will always bask in pairs or 3 or more individuals facing different directions so all angles of approach by potential predators are covered. If one turtle makes a dash for water, they all follow instantly.
    20170908_100224.jpg
    20170909_113325.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020
  5. Leo the long-neck

    Leo the long-neck New Member

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    Thanks, I will try to maximize the sunlight, that the pond gets then. What do you think about a water heater to make sure the temperature is right?
     
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