Are Turtles a Pest Problem?

Turtles are wonderful creatures found on every continent in the world, excluding Antarctica of course. There are nearly 300 species of turtle, the majority of which are found in North America. Turtles come in various different shapes, sizes, colors, and patterns; making them easily distinguishable simply by their unique characteristics. Some turtles are somewhat difficult to recognize at first glance, so onlookers must review their underbelly (plastron) shields for accurate identification. It is common for residential and commercial property owners to spot a turtle or two nearby; so it is understandable for them to ask whether or not they pose a potential problem in regards to pest control. Continue reading to learn about turtles and their behavioral, ecological, and environmental influences.

More on Turtles

A permanent body of water is a turtle’s favorite habitat. If you have property near an ocean, pond, lake, irrigation canal, creek, river, or any other body of water, you are likely to find turtles nearby if the season is right. Their diets consists of plant life, small aquatic prey, and insects. They are moderately aggressive when it comes to catching their meals. They prefer fish mostly; but are known to chow down on crayfish, water weeds, carrion, and several insects. If your property retains a body of water with organisms such as these, you are going to encounter a turtle or two, eventually.

So the question remains on whether or not turtles are a pest problem, and if they pose a threat to the well-being of a property. The short answer to this is, not likely. As a heads ups, remember that turtles lay their eggs in the early spring. This means their hatchlings will be born in the late summer. You are likely to spot the most turtles in the early fall season. This is when you can determine if you have a larger-than-life turtle population on your hands, or just a few friendly creatures making good use of your pond.

In all cases, turtles are not known to cause trouble to residential or commercial landscapes. In fact, they are relatively beneficial to our surrounding ecosystem and environment. They kill diseased or weakened fish, and cleanup all animal decay and waste matter. This means they are keeping ponds clean for us! The only economic problem with turtles are their populations in Southern rice fields. Their seedling consumption greatly reduces the crop yield every season. Other than that, turtles are safe to have on our properties! Just try to avoid touching or trapping them; they can carry diseases, bacteria, and even bite. Also keep in mind that a license is required to legally trap, fish, or sell turtles. It is highly discourages to ever kill or torture turtles as well!

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