Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Did I Hear Someone Say Free Food?

I've posted before about how we feed the fish in the pond using commercial game fish food which consists of small, floating pellets. While the food is primarily meant for the smaller bream type fish, it seems that the grass carp and turtles always get the major portion. Actually the feeding has become a bit of an entertainment for us and a chance to see the big fish and turtles up close.

The fish and turtles have associated my presence along the banks of the pond with a free lunch. When I just walk down to the area where we normally throw out the food the fish start arriving within seconds.

Within a minute or two I can see the turtles approaching from all across the pond. Sometimes there are 10 or more approaching so fast that they often leave a wake. And you can see some of the turtles aren't too shy about easing on in to claim their food when they get there.

Even without throwing out food I can walk along the edge on most days and the smaller fish and carp will follow along just 2-4 feet from the edge of the water. If I stop the bream will stop and line up facing me waiting for their meal.
Turtles evidently have great vision and are notorious for rapidly disappearing under water at the first hint of danger. We have found, however, that some individuals are much braver than others and will approach very close when these evidently delicious food treats are offered.

Often when I sit at the very edge of the water in various places around the pond trying to capture a few shots of dragonflies and damselflies a few specific turtles see me and will come all the way across the pond to wait for a handout. Over time I have lured them closer and closer to the point where now a few will come so close that I could likely reach out and touch them.

You can see this guy is basically walking on the shallow bottom at the edge of the pond. He is probably within 2 feet of me here though he has often come much closer. (This one is named Chip, by the way.)

Having them so close also provides some good video opportunities. I think you can tell by this video that some of these turtles have become regular chow hounds.

Please Note: This video includes audio that can be adjusted on the video. It is not excessively loud, but you may want to adjust the initial volume settings depending on your situation.

Chow Time from BakerWatson on Vimeo.

I find it funny the way they spit when they grab something they don't want. I never knew that turtles could spit. And who knows? Maybe one day I will have some video of them actually eating out of my hand. Now that would be cool.


  1. That video was so cool. I've never seen turtles eat before. Thanks so much for sharing it.

  2. Love this post Baker. I don't know much about turtles. I never thought of feeding them. Well. I would like to feed the snapper so he wouldn't eat the ducklings. But this was great for a rainy. Made me smile.

  3. Hello Baker, great video you got of the turtle's. You find so many great things in this pond, your blog always amazes me, there is so much activity going on in nature and you do a great job of bringing that out.

  4. ladykli - the turtles are really pretty cool - especially the ones who are brave enough to come right up close

    Michelle - Thanks - Glad you liked it - I've never seen the snapping turtles come up to eat - I feel sure we have several in the pond but they don't tend to bask like the others so we generally see them most often when they are out of the water traveling from one place to another

    Floyd - Thanks - Even though the pond is not large as ponds go it seems I always see something new and interesting when I visit during this time of year - I plan share some more videos from time to time

  5. Great post Baker....I love the way the turtles follow you and the video is so interesting....something I have never seen before.....turtles feeding, they are great (wish we had them here)

  6. You have such a cool blog, I loved the eating turtles, how neat!
    Thanks for following my blog this summer!

  7. Years ago my folks lived where they had ponds and my Dad built a deck sticking over it. They feed the fish dog food pellets and the grandkids were always enthralled watching the fish come and eat. There were big carp and even catfish along with the little ones. I find it fascinating that they learn so quickly who has the food. The turtles seem to be just as quick to learn. Wonderful video-thanks for sharing and bringing back fond memories.

  8. cheryl - the turtles are a lot of fun except when they interfere with people fishing, lol - it's amazing how brave some of them are while the others will dive from their basking positions when someone approaches within 150 feet

    maki - glad to see you made it through the trip safely - it was a lot of fun keeping up with you and several of your mates on their blogs - you had the best pictures - thanks for sharing your adventure with us

    beckie - those fish and turtles really learn fast - we have a catfish that comes up regularly, too - I have some video of him that I will probably post later - Thanks for stopping by and glad it brought back some fond memories


  9. That's a cool video of the turtle, I'm not so sure about them eating out of your hand, when I was little I was told that if they bite you, they won't let go unless they hear thunder. I don't know if it was just to scare us not to play with turtle.

  10. That is so cool! It's almost like being there! Thanks for posting the video.

  11. ginger - I've heard that too, lol - And they probably have pretty strong jaws - I'll be careful

    sandy - thanks for the visit and comments



Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.