Turtles can be spotted in local ponds

Posted by Roger Phillips on May 12, 2014 

Turtles are common in local ponds, and these appear to be non native turtles that have survived and multiplied.

ROGER PHILLIPS

Ponds are great habitat for turtles

— I was fly fishing on a Boise pond when I spotted something looking back at me. It was a turtle perched on a log. It's a common sight in ponds, but as I looked closer, I spotted another, then more. At one time, there were six of them within about 20 feet of each other. It was cool to see so many. 

I shot a bunch of photos and wondered if they were native or non native. Looks like painted turtles, but I'm not 100 percent sure which ones. A quick phone call to Idaho Fish and Game confirmed we have lots of non native turtles. Typically, someone buys one for a pet and eventually decides they don't want it, so they turn it loose, and then a few turns into a lot. 

There's a lot of debate about non native species competing with native species. I prefer seeing animals where they naturally occurred before people started importing, introducing, and letting things go for various reasons. 

Some people automatically tag all non natives as "invasive," which has a very negative connotation. That would mean pheasants, chukars, brown trout and fox squirrels are invaders, even though most people like and value them. 

But back to turtles. It appears we have native and non native turtles, and I guess as long as we have reasonably healthy population of both, I am okay with that. After all, the non native ones didn't ask to be brought here. They're just trying to survive and live as nature intended, even if they got misplaced. 

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