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European Pond Turtle (European Pond Terrapin)

Belonging to the family of Emydidae, the European Pond Turtle is scientifically known as Emys orbicularis. It’s also called the European pond tortoise and the European pond terrapin.

It’s found in southern and central Europe, northwestern Africa and in muggy zones of the Middle East and Central Asia as far east as the Aral Sea.

European Pond Turtle Facts and information

The shape of the shell develops as the turtle ages. Young orbicularis have an adjusted shell with a coarse surface that is somewhat keeled, consistently dim dark colored above and dark underneath, with yellow spots along the edge of the carapace. These are sometimes confused as being spotted turtles.

As these turtles age, the shields become even and become commonly spotted with yellow marks on a dim foundation. The head and tail are dim with yellow or light dark colored spots and little dabs. Their shell measure falls between the lengths of 12 to 38 cm, and they have 12 sets of negligible shields.

Their heads are secured with smooth skin and the appendages are widely netted. Emys orbicularis has an adaptable pivoted plastron that joins the shell by tendons.

Male European Pond turtles develop earlier and are smaller in size than females however they have comparable development rates.

European Pond Turtle Lifespan

The European Pond turtle has a lifespan of 40 to 60 years.

European Pond Turtle Habitat


This species dwells in freshwater regions, including lakes, ponds, moderate moving streams and other regions with fresh water. They select earthbound areas with open, high, and sandy soil territories for settling and nesting. These turtles scan for natural surroundings in shallow, fruitful zones with sufficient nourishment and minimal predators.

These aquatic turtles will only leave water to nest or to bask. They are inclined towards an environment that exhibits features of freshwater natural surroundings that incorporate waterways, streams, lakes, and ponds.

They like wide waterways that include delicate bottoms made up of sand or mud, and they like moderate moving water as well. Sandy territories that are close to the water are utilized for settling, and lavish vegetation gives sustenance and hiding places.

European Pond Turtle Diet

The European pond turtle is an omnivore, but at a young age will consume more carnivorous things. As it ages it will shift its eating habits to more vegetation.

Worms, crustaceans, frogs, fish, and insects are all among their diet. They primarily eat while they are in water, so if you are keeping them in a tank you can just feed them there.

You can use for like the kind from Mazuri or from Wardley. Alternatively you can use freeze dried crickets or even live worms or snails.

European Pond Turtle Breeding

European Pond Tortoise

European pond turtles reach their sexual maturity at about 5 to 6 years of age. Females lay multiple clutches that each contains about 5 to 8 eggs. Females typically lay their eggs in areas away from thick vegetations and wet the ground where they lay their eggs.

In sandy areas, they make use of their tails to dig burrows to nest their eggs. The incubation lasts for 90 to 100 days. The season for breeding and mating is not specified, they may reproduce throughout the year but the eggs hatch in spring.

European Pond Turtle Predators

This turtle is considered extremely endangered and has been declared extinct in some countries. Animals like raccoons, king snakes and hermit crabs prey on the hatchlings while the adults face a number of predators such as: herons, raccoons, bears, king snakes, domestic dogs, sea gulls, foxes, rats, cats, cormorants and fish.

The population of the European pond tortoise has been declining over the last century. Their geographic array has reduced and it will in all likelihood keep on diminishing. A few arrangements might be helpful in renewing their population.

European Pond Turtle Care guide

European pond terrapins require a water level of about 18 inches. If the tank bottom is sloped, it will be most convenient for the turtles to come out and bask.

A basking area should also be allotted and proper lighting and heat can be arranged through lighting. Moreover, males and females can be aggressive sometimes but usually they are of gentle and friendly nature.

Check out the overview video below to get a good understanding of how you can set up a habitat for these turtles.

European Pond Turtle Overview Video


Over to you! Do you have a European Pond Turtle? Planning on getting one? Let us know in the comments below!

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Anita Fuellbier

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

I am looking to add 2 more european pond turtles to my pond. I have a little lonely one. Do you sell them as well?