Western Caspian Turtle

Western Caspian Turtle / Mauremys rivulata / سلحفاة المستنقعات

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Status: Uncommon

The Western Caspian turtle belongs to the Geoemydidae family in the Testudines order (suborder Cryptodira). The only species of the Geoemydidae family present in Palestine. The adult length is up to 28 cm females are larger than males. The Western Caspian turtle mostly diurnal turtle with brown greenish (some populations are even black) carapace. The neck, tail and legs are with black and yellow thin stripes. The underbelly is usually dotted. The feet are webbed, which enables swimming. At the tip of their feet there are claws. The male carapace is narrower than that of the female, and its bottom part is concave. A common view is many individuals standing in the sun in a group for hours without motion on a rock verge, or tree trunk protruding from the water. The female lays 5-15 eggs during the summer and hatching takes place 4-6 months later. Males reach maturity when they are one year old and females when they are 4-5 years old. The young are carnivorous and they feed on mollusks, arthropods, tadpoles and small fish. As they mature they eat also plants and algae. The Western Caspian turtle inhibits parts of Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East.

Conservation status: Least Concern

In Palestine: it can be found in Mediterranean aquatic habitats (stagnant and flowing water sources).