European Cistudes Settle on Highway Area

Formerly present in large territories all over Europe, the European pond turtle is now declining over its entire range and occupies areas that are less and less extensive. This freshwater turtle is still observed mainly in the Camargue and the south of the Var, the Gard small Camargue, neo-Aquitaine swamps (Brouage, Double, Gascony moors) as well as Brenne, Bourbonnais, and Corsica.

This strong regression now makes it a threatened species that must be safeguarded. Very fierce, this cold-blooded animal likes quiet and sunny places. At the first rays of the sun, he settles on the banks or tree trunks to take long sunbathing. 

And at the slightest suspicious noise, he plunges into the water. Both scavenger and predator, this small reptile feeds mainly on aquatic invertebrates, dead fish and insects that have fallen into the water, but also occasionally small amphibians and aquatic plants.

The population is estimated at more than one hundred individuals, including 10 to 20% of juveniles, which proves the good vitality of this population. Its presence on this lagoon station of a highway located in Charente-Maritime says a lot about the adaptability of the species, which found here an environment conducive to its reproduction.

The LPO equipped ten of them (4 males and 6 females) with transmitters specially designed for monitoring aquatic turtles. The goal? Check if they winter and breed in the area, and identify nesting sites.

-Wild Chronicle