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Terrapins are semi-aquatic reptiles, which means they spend time both in water and on land. They have webbed feet and relatively flat shells which make them well-adapted for swimming in freshwater habitats such as rivers, lakes, and swamps. Terrapins also have the ability to retract their heads and limbs into their shells for protection.

At our center we have European stripe-necked terrapins, scientifically known as Mauremys elegans. Because they are well-adapted to living in freshwater habitats such as ponds, marshes, and slow-moving rivers, they are also commonly referred to as Mediterranean pond turtles.

In addition to Zakynthos, they are native to various regions in Europe including Greece, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and parts of the Balkans.
One of the distinctive features of the European stripe-necked terrapin is the prominent yellow or orange stripes that run along the sides of their heads and necks. Take a look in the tanks and spot which color stripes our terrapins have.

Their carapaces, or shells, are typically dark brown or black with a smooth and rounded shape. They can grow up to 20 to 25 centimeters in length and can live up to 30 years in captivity. Terrapins are omnivorous, feeding on a varied diet that includes aquatic plants, insects, small fish, and amphibians. They are known to be opportunistic feeders, taking advantage of available food sources in their environment.