Turtles return home to UT turtle pond

University of Texas turtle pond (Natalie Hee/KXAN)

AUSTIN (KXAN) – The turtles at the University Texas’ iconic turtle pond returned to their home Monday after a week-long vacation.

Last week, the university moved more than 140 turtles to a field lab while maintenance crews cleaned the pond. The ponds are supposed to be cleaned every decade- the last one being in 2002.

“The pond hasn’t been cleaned for 12 years. There were about three feet of sediment, algae and disgusting mud which the turtles like but it was too much,” explained UT student volunteer Cooper Wyatt.

“The pumps were breaking, the turtles were overcrowded, so every decade or so they have to be cleaned out and refreshed for the health of the turtles.”

The iconic turtle ponds were built on UT’s campus in the 1930s and dedicated to the victims of the UT Tower shooting of 1966.

“We’ve had orientation groups come by this summer and their parents who went to UT will stop by when we’re cleaning the pond and tell us stories of what the turtles were doing when they were here. Anyone who’s ever gone to UT will know what we’re talking about. It’s a staple,” Wyatt said.

Organizers only brought back about 40 of the turtles to help keep the pond from being crowded.

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