Name: Robin B.
I am a teacher. I have a Common Snapper who has moved
into our manmade pond at our home. He seems to be content to stay. I am
concerned for several reasons. I have read that they are fairly docile
near humans as long as not provoked but I have 7 & 8 year old
children. Will he burrow into earth through our pond liner when he
hibernates? Can we prevent him from burrowing by putting a heat ring in
the pond during winter? Will he be able to get enough to eat in this
environment or should we stock the pond with feeder goldfish or plant
life? We are happy to have him stay but would be willing to try to
relocate him or take him to the local wildlife society if it would be
dangerous or destructive for US or unhealthy for HIM to stay.
Children seven and eight years old can be taught to avoid the turtle, I
would not be too concerned about safety as long as they are reminded not to
provoke it. If the pond is shallow then it is most likely the turtle,
assuming it came on its own, will go away again before hibernation to look
for a more suitable place but if it should stay it might well damage a
liner. Do not heat the pond to try to encourage the turtle to stay over
winter, it is not likely to work but might keep the animal there too long
for it to find another suitable place. Snappers are both scavengers and
predators - it must be eating something or it would not stay. I would not add
anything for food unless you wanted it for its own sake.
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Update: June 2012