European Pond Turtle

European Pond Turtle
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  • Item #: EPT
 

Scientific Name:     Emys orbicularis

Identification:  European Pond Turtles are very similar in appearance and habits to American Blandings Turtles. Dark brown to black in shell color with literally thousands of small white to yellow spots. Their plastron (belly) is partially hinged, similar to a Box Turtle's. The skin of the head is dark, often black with small yellow flecks or dots. The limbs are dark with yellow stripes or spots.

 

Range: European Pond Turtles inhabit the slow moving rivers and streams of Spain, Portugal, France Greece and Italy. They're also found in the Baltic region, the former soviet states, into Iran, Turkey and Northern Africa.

Diet:  Although it is assumed that Emys orbicularis turtles are strictly carnivorous, it seems that not all Emys orbicularis are entirely carnivorous as their diet also consists of plant material.  It has been reported that an adult's diet starts from a carnivorous to a more herbivorous diet as it ages and grows in size.

In general European pond turtles measure 13 up to 23 cm. Females tend to be larger than males, northern sub-species larger than those found in the south. There are currently fourteen described regional subspecies, however there is much debate over their validity. Hatchling European pond turtles (tiny dark brown turtles with minimal light colored areas) all look extremely similar thus making it near impossible to know the correct subspecies without knowledge of their origin (or their parents' origin).

This species is incredibly aggressive at feeding time. They will swim powerfully, climbing out of the water almost agilely to get to a potential food item. They will quickly associate their keepers as a food source which prompts an aggressive response.

 
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