Ask a Vet

How To Attract Turtles To Your Garden, Lake, Or Pond

Photo of author
Updated on

Turtles are amazing creatures and can add interest and excitement to your garden. However, you don’t have to resort to buying a pet turtle to have one in your backyard.

All you need to do is implement a few changes to your garden, and you can attract your neighborhood turtles into your veritable paradise!

2 turtles in a pond

Turtles can be attracted to your garden and pond with just a little help!

So, how do you go about attracting these lovely creatures into your garden?

Simply put, you can attract them onto your land by providing an environment that they will love.

Turtles are attracted to a body of water such as a pond or an artificial enclosure, a good reliable source of food, shady spaces to nap, mudrocks to cool off, and low-growing plants with leafy aquatic vegetation around the area.

10 Reasons To Attract Turtles Into Your Garden

Why would you want to let turtles into your garden anyway? Well, there are many reasons for this, but here are some of the most common ones:

  1. They’re Beautiful – Yes, I know what you’re thinking, “But they’re ugly!” You may think so, but if you take a closer look at these beauties, you’ll see how stunning they are. These animals are very intelligent and friendly, and they can even make great pets.
  2. They’re Fun – If you’ve ever seen a baby turtle crawl out from under its shell, then you know just how adorable they are. It’s also fun to watch them play and swim around your yard.
  3. They Help Our Environment Turtles are known to eat lots of bugs and other pests, which helps our ecosystem. Not only that, but they also help clean up pollution in ponds and lakes.
  4. They Make Great Pets – Some people like to keep their turtles as pets.
  5. They Can Provide Food For Birds And Fish – When you feed your turtles, you’re not only helping yourself, but you’re also helping wildlife.
  6. They Can Be Used As Decorations – Most people like to decorate their yards with plants and flowers, but why not give your yard a little more character by adding a few turtles too?
  7. They Are Easy To Care For – Turtles are pretty easy to care for since all you need to do is provide them with fresh water and a place to live.
  8. They Don’t Need Much Space – Since turtles don’t require too much space, your yard will almost certainly provide a veritable adventure playground for them.
  9. They Have A Long Life Span – Turtles tend to have a lifespan of about 30 + years, depending on the species.
  10. They’re Very Friendly Animals – Like dogs, turtles are very loving and loyal animals. They won’t bite unless provoked, and they’re usually quite happy to meet new friends. Because turtles don’t have sharp teeth, they’re safe for children and pets alike.

There you have it; if you want a cleaner backyard, free from pests and debris, an interesting playmate, and a bit of visual interest in your outdoor space, inviting a few turtles into your garden is the way to go!

Get A Body Of Water

Turtles in a pond

This isn’t essential, but if you have a pond in your garden or you are interested in making one, you’ll be more likely to attract turtles to your space! Turtles love water, and they especially enjoy swimming in bodies of water.

You should get a pond or lake somewhere near your house, preferably on your property, because you’ll be able to access it whenever you want.

If you’re looking for something smaller, you could try a small pool or kiddie pool. You might even consider using a large, shallow bucket filled with water and placing it outside.

How To Build A Pond

If you’re interested in building a pond, here’s one way of going about it!

Step One – Pick A location

The first thing you’ll need to do when building a pond is to find a suitable location. Ideally, you’d like to build the pond close to where you plan to put your turtles so that they will have easy access to it.

If you already have a body of water nearby, you may be able to use this as your pond. Otherwise, you’ll probably need to dig a hole for your pond. This can either be done manually, or you can hire someone to do it for you.

When digging out your pond, make sure that you leave enough room around the edges for the sides of the pond to rest against. Also, make sure that no trees or shrubs are growing in the area.

Step Two – Dig Out Your Pond

Once you’ve found a suitable spot, you’ll need to dig down until you reach solid ground. If you’re planning to install a pump, you’ll also need to drill holes in the bottom of your pond for drainage pipes.

Once you’ve dug out your pond, fill it up with water. Make sure that the water level is at least 2 feet deep, and that it’s roughly 4 inches above the top of the soil.

Step Three – Install Pumps

Depending on how big your pond is going to be, you’ll need to decide whether you want to install a filter system or not.

Step Four – Add Plants

Turtles prefer ponds that contain plants because they provide them with food and shelter. To attract turtles to your pond, you’ll need to add some aquatic plants.

There are many different kinds of aquatic plants available, depending on what type of environment you live in and what kind of plants thrive in that particular climate.

Adding Aquatic Plants

Some great examples of aquatic plants are listed below:

  • Water Lilies – These are popular among turtle owners because their leaves look like scales. They grow well in warm climates, and they don’t require much care.
  • Floating Plants – These are ideal for ponds located in colder areas because they don’t freeze during winter. Some examples of floating plants include duckweed, duckweeds, and water hyacinths.
  • Mosses – Mosses are very hardy, and they can survive in almost any condition. They also help to reduce algae growth in your pond.
  • Cattails – Cattails are another good example of an aquatic plant. They’re native to North America, and they can be used to create a natural-looking pond.

Place Turtle Food

You should place some sort of food in your ponds, such as fish flakes, crickets, or worms.

Fish flakes are a good option if you live near a lake or river. They’re inexpensive, and they won’t smell bad. You can buy them online, or you can even pick some up from your local pet store.

Crickets are another great option. Crickets eat algae, and they also produce nitrogenous waste, which helps to fertilize your pond.

Worms are an excellent choice if you live in a warmer climate. Worms are easy to find, and they can be purchased from most pet stores.

Monitor Your Garden

It’s important to monitor your pond regularly so that you know when something has gone wrong. Check the pH levels of your pond every week, and make sure that the water isn’t too murky.

If your pond starts to get cloudy, this means that bacteria are growing inside of it. This can lead to health problems, so it’s important to treat your pond before it gets worse.

Add More Water

Depending on where you live, you might have to add more water to your garden. If you live in a dry area, then you’ll probably have to use a dehumidifier to keep the air around your pond moist

I Don’t Want A Pond, Can I Still Have Turtles?

Turtle walking on grass

Yes, absolutely! Read on to find out how to attract them to your yard:

There are still several things you can do in your garden to create an inviting and chilled-out environment for your turtle brethren.

Drop Food Into Your Garden

Even if you don’t have a pond, turtles are drawn to food. Turtles love fresh fruit and vegetables such as whole apples, carrots, pears, and bananas, along with leafy green!

Be aware, though, having food around in your garden can also attract other wildlife that you may not be as fond of!

Create A Perfect Space

The turtles’ ideal space is a dry, sunny sop near a muddy area. Turtles spend their time alternating between swimming in the water and basking in the sunshine (what a great life!)

They also need access to a clean drinking fountain. The best way to provide for these needs is by creating a small enclosure within your garden.

This will allow your turtles to stay safe while they drink, and it will give them somewhere to bask without getting dirty.

Top Tip: Keep Your Plants Healthy

Turtles like plants, but they also enjoy eating bugs. It’s important to maintain healthy plants in your garden so that your turtles have plenty of bugs to snack on.

This can be done through regular watering and by keeping weeds away from your plants.

Top Tip: Keep Up With Maintenance

Your turtles will appreciate a well-maintained garden. Maintain your garden by trimming back any dead branches and leaves and cleaning up any debris.

You can also purchase a turtle feeder, which is a great way to ensure that your garden is always as welcoming as possible to our beshelled buddies living in the wild.

How Do You Attract Turtles To A Lake?

Are you lucky enough to live near a lake on your property? You’ll probably be able to attract a wide variety of wildlife and plant life to your shores, including the humble turtle!

To attract turtles to your lake, you’ll want to follow these steps:

  1. Make Sure That There Are No Snakes or Other Predators Around
  2. Add Some Decorative Rocks
  3. Plant Trees And Shrubs Nearby
  4. Create An Inlet For Your Turtle to Swim Into
  5. Provide Plenty Of Food
  6. Monitor Your Lake Regularly

Frequently Asked Questions

Turtle on a garden grass

Below is a list of frequently asked questions about how to attract turtles. If you’re looking for answers to different questions, scroll down to the section that relates to your question.

Should I Pick Up Turtles?

No, unless you’ve got a large collection of turtles already. Turtles are very sensitive creatures, and picking them up could cause them stress and injury.

It’s much better to simply leave them alone and let nature take its course. They are naturally very shy and scared of humans, so they won’t approach you unless you make yourself known to them first.

If turtles are ignoring you, let them be. They’re just trying to get comfortable in their new surroundings.

Offer them food as they get used to this new environment, and they may get more comfortable with your presence. Bringing us to our next frequently asked question…

What Should I Feed My Turtles?

There are many types of foods available for reptiles, but there are some general guidelines you should follow when choosing what to feed your turtles.

Freshwater fish such as carp, catfish, goldfish, and tilapia are all good choices.
These are high-protein options, and they don’t require too much maintenance.

Fresh vegetables such as lettuce, spinach, kale, carrots, cucumbers, peas, and corn are also excellent choices. These are low in fat, and they offer your turtles lots of vitamins and minerals.

Be sure to keep an eye out for insects because this is one of the most common foods that turtles eat. Insects are easy to find, and they contain essential nutrients that your turtles need.


Creating a garden for your turtles can be fun, and it can help to improve your home. There are many ways to go about doing this, and each method comes with its own set of benefits.

We hope that we’ve given you some ideas on how to attract turtles to your garden. We’d love to hear what methods you use to attract turtles, so let us know below!

Photo of author
About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.