European pond turtle

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Emys orbicularis

This is one of the reptiles which is native to Catalonia. It is classed as a protected native wildlife species and is currently threatened with extinction. 

While it used to be very common in the area, the European pond turtle has gradually disappeared as a result of serious damage to its natural habitat. It was in this very area that the last examples found refuge at the end of the 1980s.

Interestingly, this fast-moving reptile displays a degree of sexual dimorphism, as the females are usually larger than the males.

It is a hibernating species, which is essentially diurnal and normally basks in the sun among the plants or on a trunk. The sites where they lay their eggs can be over 100 metres from the edges of the water in sunny areas. While breeding, they can travel up to half a kilometre to find a partner or lay their eggs.

They mainly feed on amphibians, fish, insects, snails, plant debris and carrion, and their most notable predators include herons and bitterns, the Louisiana crayfish, rats, wild boar, fish such as the black bass when they are young, otters and people. One of their main threats is competition from invasive exotic turtles.