Habitat - Outdoor :: Dovey's new outdoor home

Ponds and other outdoor enclosures.

Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 2:50 pm   Dovey's new outdoor home

When my wife and I bought our home 3 years ago it came with a 60s era concrete in ground swimming pool that had been filled to the rim with soil and used as a rose garden for almost 20 years. Last summer I decided to pull out much of the dirt, sculpt it with a deep end, a shallow end and a channel connecting the two and fill it with water to see what happened. The pond has given us tremendous joy as it matures. It's amazing to see all of the vegetation that has come in (willows, cottonwoods, grasses) to go along with the few things we planted and the toads and fish and birds and insects have flocked to it.

We got Dovey this past Sunday when a friend called to implore us to take her from a horrible situation she was in. She was left to stew in pea soup in small outdoor tank with no pump or filter mechanism. Our friend's neighbor, when confronted said he didn't want her and couldn't take care of her. Understatement, although the neighbor had just taken her over from someone else.

I don't have any other history on Dovey but she's 9" (shell length) so she's obviously been around.

I was a bit hesitant at first thinking of the fish (4-5" goldies) and the toads and what Dovey would do in the winter but we agreed.

As soon as she was in the water she took after the fish but it was comical because as hungry as she probably was she had no chance of getting them. That may change but I'm now less concerned that she can clean the place out. I know when the toads mate again next spring she'll probably eat a lot of the eggs but they are prolific for a reason so that will balance out.

I have been feeding her land snails which we have plenty of here. She tries to yank them out of the shell but if she can then she's crushing the shell and eating them. We've also given her crickets and grass hoppers, rollie pollies and pellets. So far she hasn't been at all interested in the vegetables but I'll keep trying. She also hasn't touched the pond plants yet. It grows so much that I have to cut it back a lot so if she's willing to help I'll be happy.

The property is 3/4 of an acre fenced at the perimeter and the back yard (where she is) is fenced as well so she has about a third of an acre to wander if she wants to. So far she has basked a lot but just on the bank in the grass. She starts as soon as the sun comes over the trees on the eastern boundary.

We have three dogs (a lab and 2 min pins). They are curious but not obsessed with her and respond to my corrections if they get too close to her. She decides whether or not to go back into the water but most of the time she just stays there and looks at them and then they trot off.

I work from home and the pond/patio is my office most of the time so I've been observing her right along with the pond life. It is a good fit and I'm very glad that we agreed to bring her in.

Night time she goes to the muddy bottom under the parrot feather. I plan to let her hibernate this winter since the original pool is 5 feet deep and there is a minimum of 2 feet of mud and in some areas 5 feet because of the contouring.

I want to heartily thank the people that make up redearslider.com and turtle talk. I've read almost every word on here so get up to speed quickly and for ideas because I've never had responsibility for a turtle before. I now have confidence and know that there is a community with answers just a click away.

I've imbedded some photos in this post and will periodically update this thread as Dovey goes through the seasons and matures with the rest of the pond life.

Please feel free to comment or provides ideas or suggestions.

Regards, T.

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Last edited by tolstoy on Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 4:56 pm   

WOW, sorry about the photos being so large and unwieldy in the original post. I'm getting the hang of this now and fixed the sizing so you can actually see Dovey and the outdoor habitat.
tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:58 pm   

I introduced a grasshopper and Dovey came right over.

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After a miss she turned herself around for a second shot.

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and boom...bye bye grasshopper

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tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:16 pm   

This looks awesome, I hope that by the time Donnie gets too big for his tank I have a place where I can make a pond like this
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xstefanx
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 6:36 pm   

thanks xstefanx - I hope you will too, it's neat and something new everyday
tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 8:37 pm   

Wow awesome pond and great use of an old pool.
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wiccabrat
 
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 2:32 pm   

Quick question for everyone.

Dovey is basking and her neck is all the way out with head up high (nose almost vertical) and her throat is pulsating noticeably in and out about every second. I'm assuming this is a sign of her breathing but is it?

Tell me what you think. Thanks, T.
tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:44 pm   

Dovey's been very active this afternoon, mostly on top of the parrot feather (it's formed kind of a bog in the center of the deep end) back and forth. Not sure what's she's looking for. The fish love it because she's stirring up all kinds of stuff that doesn't get disturbed very much.

In her movements I got this picture of her trying to climb the fountain.

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and after thrashing most of the parrot feather here's where she ended up

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tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:07 pm   

The throat pulsing is normal- I'd be taking deep breaths and enjoying myself if I were a turtle with such a nice pond too!
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megcornell
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:12 pm   

megcornell wrote:The throat pulsing is normal- I'd be taking deep breaths and enjoying myself if I were a turtle with such a nice pond too!


thanks mc, i figured as much but this is all new to me so i figured i'd ask to be sure
tolstoy
 
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Post Posted: Sat Sep 05, 2009 4:15 pm   

You might know this, but I want to warn you anyway: RES are very skilled escape artists. You said that the yard is fenced off but even so she might find a way out so be careful. Although if I were here I would never leave that awesome pond that you've built her even if the door was wide open.

This is probably the nicest pond/outdoor turtle enclosure that I've seen so far. Congrats.
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worldpeace
 
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:26 am   

WOW that's incredible!

Do you monitor the water level at all? I'm assuming there's no drainage from beneath so I'm wondering how you keep it from overfilling and flooding the rest of the yard during a rainstorm?

EDIT: Just saw you're in NM... so maybe you don't get the kind of rainstorms that we do here from time to time :lol:
elwray
 
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Post Posted: Wed Sep 09, 2009 3:55 pm   

what a cool pond, if ur interested at all in breeding u could introduce a male
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rsour24
 
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Post Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 7:40 pm   

Your RES is breathing, but the movement is also connected to smelling.

Beautiful habitat...
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marisa
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Post Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 12:54 pm   

thank you for all of the comments.

She seems to be doing great. Follows me around begging all day. I have to resist rewarding her for that. Has no fear of me or the dogs. Whenever we're at the edge she comes right over. In fact I have some concern that she's going to get some dog tongue at some point as they drink the water. Sometimes when I reach in to clean debris from the pump filter I have to push her away and she turns and comes right back over. It's kinda cute.

I do have some more questions for you guys:

1. How often would I expect to see unfertilized eggs? I have not seen any yet (she's been here about two weeks).

2. Would she lay eggs in the same place as she basks? If she lays in the water will they float or sink?

3. She is a little lopsided in the water, noticeable but not pronounced. She has no problem swimming or diving and spends every night 3 feet down in the mud. Is this something I should be concerned about (RI)? She basks from first light until late afternoon going in and out of the water periodically. I only ask because of recent comments gwennie made on another thread.

4. She's got some small spots on her shell that can be seen in the grasshopper eating photos from last Friday. Are these a sign of anything I need to be concerned about?

5. She does not eat vegetables or plants. Will taste things and then spit out. She devours snails, grasshoppers, rollie pollies and other critters I find in the yard but not the hyacinth or celery that live in the pond or the carrots, cucumbers or lettuce that I've given her. She takes pellets from me. I guess if I didn't feed her the live food she would have to eat vegetation. Should I do that to get a better balance? I was under the impression that she'd be primarily an herbivore but she's quite the opposite.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
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