|Balkan terrapin in captivity|
The Balkan terrapin or western Caspian terrapin (Mauremys rivulata) is a species of terrapin in the family Geoemydidae. It is found in the eastern Mediterranean region. While technically omnivorous, the terrapins are known to prefer meat. They can grow to 25 cm in carapace length, although hatchlings are usually only 3 to 4 cm in length.
It is found in the
Mauremys rivulata are fairly large, with carapace lengths up to 25 cm (9.8 in); hatchling turtles of this species are usually between 3 and 4 centimetres (1.2 and 1.6 in) in length.
Habitat and ecology
The species is mostly lowland, although the terrapins have been recorded as far up as 900 metres (3,000 ft) above sea level. They are found in wetland habitats, including swamps, rivers, and ponds, although they lay their eggs in grassland regions.
Mauremys rivulata are preyed on by large birds and predacious mammals such as mongoose who also feed on the terrapins' eggs, although smaller carnivores may prey on younger turtles with softer shells.
Mauremys rivulata is an omnivorous species, eating both plants and animals, although a preference for meat is documented. Young terrapins will eat small invertebrates as well as small amphibian larvae or carcasses; adult terrapins are known to also eat algae and aquatic plants.
Interactions with humans
Human behaviour affecting the species' habitat has caused population decline.
In the northern portion of its range, the species may hibernate during the winter. Although the terrapins may accept bread offered by humans, they do not have the enzymes needed to digest it, and such offerings are thus bad for their health.
- Rhodin, Anders G.J.; van Dijk, Peter Paul; Iverson, John B.; Shaffer, H. Bradley (2010-12-14). "Turtles of the World 2010 Update: Annotated Checklist of Taxonomy, Synonymy, Distribution and Conservation Status" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-07-17. Retrieved 2010-12-15.