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European pond turtle

  • SEA LIFE Oberhausen, World of Otters

About the European pond turtle

The European pond turtle, also known as Emys orbicularis, is the only native turtle species in Germany. Today it is on the red list of animals threatened with extinction. SEA LIFE Oberhausen is committed to the reintroduction of this species.

Habitat and appearance

A special distinguishing feature of the Emys orbicularis is the relatively large tail length compared to the carapace. The European pond turtle can reach a carapace length of up to 20cm. Another typical feature are the yellow dots on their shell and skin. The Emys orbicularis prefers to stay in still or slow flowing waters, because they warm up quickly by sunrays. It is important that suitable places for laying eggs are available, otherwise the animals cannot reproduce. The European pond turtle spends its hibernation in the water, under an existing ice layer. The Emys breathe further, their heart beats slower and they move minimally.

What do European pond turtles eat?

On the menu of the European pond turtle are many dishes. They mainly eat tadpoles, amphibian larvae and small fish. Also plants are eaten partially. Basically they eat what nature gives them. However, they have to eat their food in the water, because the Emys cannot swallow outside of the water.

Among the natural enemies of the European pond turtle are birds, martens, raccoons, wild boars and humans. In the Middle Ages, the massive catch of the Emys led to the fact that they are threatened with extinction today.