Insects, Worms, and Minnows – Oh My!
Help keep the turtles in Kingfisher Pond healthy
December 22, 2020
When you visit the Chattahoochee Nature Center most likely you will take a walk along the wildlife walk and see the Bald Eagles, hawks, owls, and the resident beaver. All resident wildlife along the wildlife walk are injured and/or non-releasable and taken care of permanently by the Wildlife Department at the nature center which includes a specific diet for each animal.
Also along the wildlife walk, between the Bald Eagles and the Red-Shouldered Hawks and behind a magnolia tree, you will find a small dock. People of all ages like to visit the dock on Kingfisher Pond and see the turtles and fish. The aquatic turtles are not shy about visiting! The turtles and fish are considered wildlife (not resident animals to the nature center) and do not have a regulated diet by the Wildlife Department. They get their food from Kingfisher Pond! Find out what they may eat and how you can help protect them.
Aquatic turtles are opportunistic feeders- they eat just about anything that they can catch and fit in their mouths:
While feeding wildlife helps many people feel closer to nature, it can pose a few issues for the animals we love:
- Some species have specialized diets, and with other species, males and females don’t even eat the same foods.
- Turtles lack the digestive enzymes needed to process many types of human food, especially processed food. While they may feel full, they don’t get the vitamins and nutrients they need for proper growth and development. This can cause their shells to become misshaped and malformed, and damage their organs.
- Wildlife becomes reliant on people for food. They will spend less time hunting and foraging for their needed food.
- Handouts from people cause crowding and competition. These unnatural conditions cause more fighting and injury, and spread disease within their population.
We kindly ask visitors to please refrain from feeding the wild turtles that live in Kingfisher Pond. They will live longer, healthier lives if we observe them from a distance!
See you along the wildlife walk and make sure you stop at the dock and visit the aquatic turtles! But don’t bring the crackers!