Turtle Traps: Build Your Own

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courtesy Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
Build a turtle trap to help control the population at your pond.

Turtles are no stranger to farm ponds, and if they overrun yours you can construct a homemade turtle trap to help eradicate them. Turtles require water for survival, so if a creek that was habitat to any population of turtles dries up, they’ll relocate to the nearest habitat that will best allow for survival. And if that creek just so happened to be next to one of your ponds, chances are you’re in for some reptilian additions at your farm pond.

But before contemplating how to deal with the situation or eradicate uninvited turtles, it’s important to know that typically turtles do more good than harm as part of a pond ecosystem. As scavengers, turtles get most of their nutrition from the dead or the dying. They eat dead or dying fish, snakes and other aquatic organisms – pretty much work to clean your pond. So the responsible landowner will adequately observe the pond and determine the magnitude of any problem and will never indiscriminately destroy a population of turtles.

However, there is always such a thing as being overrun, and trapping of turtles is a very resourceful method that will allow you to have turtle soup, stew or even fried turtle.

The following is a method for constructing your own turtle trap, Producing Fish and Wildlife from Kansas Ponds.

“An effective trap can be constructed by attaching a hardware cloth or chicken wire bottom to a square, four-board wood frame. A slanted board is then nailed to the outside of the trap, leading to the top edge. It serves as a ramp on which the turtle can crawl out of the water to the trap. A metal rod is driven horizontally through two of the frame boards. The rod is also passed through another “teeter” board which extends from the edge of the trap to near the middle. When the turtle crawls to the end of the board, his weight will tip it forward and he will fall into the trap. A tough piece of fresh beef or pork should be suspended in the middle of the trap for bait. To keep the turtle in the trap, 20 D nails should be driven into the frame, slanting upward, 4 inches apart, 2 inches above the water.”

Wire the trap to the top of a fence post that is submerged in the water, or if the trap is resting on the ground near the pond, wire it to another structure to secure it.

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