Mike LaCombe is the humble owner of perhaps the most well recognized turtle ponds on the Earth right here in California. A pond dedicated to semi-aquatic turtles consumes over a 1/3 of his back yard while the rest of the yard is heavily planted with some of the most exotic plants available in the region.
In this backyard that could compete with most botanical gardens you will come across everything from carnivorous Nepenthes Pitcher Plants, rare cycads, palms, succulents, and unusual ground covers to a wide varieties of cacti, rare clumping bamboo, at least a dozen varieties of elephant ear taros and even a token topiary.
The garden is planted in such a way that there is always something in bloom regardless of season. There are so many cool things going on in this backyard it’s literally impossible to see everything in once visit. In fact, even Mike who spends most of his free time relaxing in this amazing garden can’t catch everything.
More than two dozen semi aquatic turtles dominate the yard and roam freely to do as they please, when the please and with whomever they please if you know what I mean! Well if I must spell it out, the turtles are breeding and laying eggs in the garden when Mike is off to work.
Well late this Summer Mike just happened to be tilling a small section of the garden preparing the area for yet another rare plant. Mike drove a large round spade shovel with the force of a size 12 steel toe boot into hard soil and flipped it upside down and unveiled 13 red-eared slider hatchlings no bigger than a quarter!
Mike is convinced that the little hatchlings would not have made it out of the hard pan soil that he was loosening up for a new exotic plant and even more amazed he didn’t chop one of the little guys up during his work. It’s unbelievable not a single little aquatic reptile was harmed in the action.
The funny thing is, Mike went to a ton of trouble during the construction of this pond to provide a nice sandy beach area for female turtles looking to lay eggs. Mike reports that he frequently finds females wandering the garden looking for obscure places to lay eggs.
These watery little reptiles typically breed in the spring around March but may continue into July. Breeding typically takes place at the bottom of the pond and can carry on for up to 45 minutes! Females may lay as few as a couple eggs however large females can lay up to 30 eggs at a time!
The red-eared slider can lay up to 5 clutches of eggs in once season. Eggs typically hatch in two to three months but can hang on through a long winter waiting for warm weather if laid late in the season.
Watch for yourself how cool Mike’s TURTLE POND DESIGN is on our YouTube video that has over a ¼ MILLION views. The video was filmed a couple of years ago and showcases two little hatchlings that he ran across that year. They baby turtles in the video are completely unrelated to the baby turtles in the photo however might very well be related if you catch my drift. Enjoy!
The Pond Digger