Fountain Creek Nature Center Audio Tour – Stop 9 – The Ponds

These ponds are homes for many fish, turtles, and birds.

Listen to learn hear how turtles survive here year-round.


How many ponds can you count from where you’re standing? There are 3 ponds here in Cattail Marsh Wildlife Area. Pond habitats attract many kinds of wildlife from migrating birds to our resident turtles and occasionally even beaver. On a warm summer day, you can spot the red-eared slider, basking on rocks and logs in the pond. These aquatic turtles spend summers swimming through the pond looking for fish, insects, and plants to eat. They come up to the surface to bask in the sun and breathe. When temperatures drop in late fall, the turtles dive down to the bottom of the pond. They switched to a different kind of metabolism that allows them to wait the winter out for months, with no food or air. These turtles breathe with their lungs in the summer when they can swim to the surface. But in winter, when the pond is covered by ice, they absorb oxygen from the water through their skin. When the turtles sense a change in light and temperature, they know the ice lid has melted and they can come up to breathe. These ponds are an essential resource for wildlife through the seasons.