Turtles and tortoises are a truly remarkable group of reptiles. These ancient looking animals, protected by their characteristic shell can be found in a variety of habitats.
There are no native species in Belgium, but recently I visited central France to photograph the European pond turtle (Emys orbicularis), one of the few freshwater turtle species occurring in Europe. The species is listed as near threatened by the IUCN, as alteration of its habitat due to intensification of agriculture, urban expansion… are affecting its occurrence. Remaining populations are further affected by pollution, competition with introduced species and possibly from illegal collecting for the pet trade too. I had an amazing experience snorkeling with these animals and hope you enjoy the pictures posted here below.
swimming in a pond with clear water
surfacing for air