It's no secret that the turtle is considered one of the mostancient representatives of our fauna, as it managed to preserve its original appearance as it was 200 million years ago. Her body is protected by a shell. The top part of the turtle is smooth, dark olive or brown, covered with small yellow specks. The toes are connected by swimming membranes. The main feature of the marsh tortoise is that it has a long tail, necessary for swimming.
The marsh turtle lives in southern and central Europe, as well as in the regions of Asia and North Africa.
The main habitat for the marsh tortoisethey are marshes, they also like old rivers or quiet river creeks. Recently, it has been noted that marsh turtles are gradually mastering artificial reservoirs, namely: canals and ponds. It's no secret that turtles prefer deserted places, but sometimes they settle in places that are often visited by people.
Typically, the European marsh turtlechooses for its habitat parts of water bodies, which have a shallow shore or hummocks. Thanks to them, they can get out of the water for hunting or just warm up. The marsh turtle, in comparison with the land tortoise, moves much faster, and if it sees any danger, it immediately dives into the water, can also dig into the mud or hide in the aquatic vegetation. Therefore, it is quite problematic to find such animals. Of course, you can watch them if you quietly sneak up to the place of their home.
Previously, it was believed that the marsh turtleconducts a predominantly nocturnal lifestyle, and in the daytime it only basks in the sun. However, observations and studies have established that at night she likes to sleep on the bottom of a river or a pond, and in the daytime she is awake, hunting on land and on water.
Swamp turtle swims, dives, andalso for a long time can remain under water. If we are talking about active movements, then it needs to rise every twenty minutes to the surface of the water and swallow air. A marsh turtle has one very important adaptation necessary for dwelling in the water, namely additional respiratory organs, which include anal blisters and blood capillary outgrowths of the pharynx. And thanks to the complex structure of the lungs, she has the opportunity to use oxygen even in the case of poor ventilation.
The marsh turtle eats both terrestrialanimals, and water. In addition, her diet can include different plants. As for the water surface, there she catches various invertebrates, for example, crustaceans, insects, mollusks, as well as newts, small frogs, can eat a wounded fish.
On the shore the swamp turtle hunts variousbugs, worms, lice and shellfish. She does not mind eating seaweed and coastal plants. In the process of hunting in the animal, the main role is played not only by sight, but also by the sense of smell.
After the autumn-winter period, the turtle is ready forreproduction. As a rule, the turtle reaches puberty only on the sixth-eighth year of life. After all, the marsh tortoise is longevous, on average it lives from seventy to one hundred and twenty years. Mating can be carried out both on water and on land. The female lays her eggs in a hole and buries her feet. Eggs are similar to avian eggs, also composed of calcareous shell. It takes a couple of months to develop eggs. Little turtles, emerging from eggs, dig their mink and remain there until the coming of the next spring. All this period they can exist due to stored nutrients, which are located in the yolk sac on the abdomen.