Fauna of Crete


Crete has a few species of terrestrial turtles, mainly because the climate is warm and dry. However, in the limited wetlands of the island, it is sure that someone is going to meet many of them. The only native species is the Balcan terrapin, while there are also the introduced Greek tortoise and the marginated tortoise.

Greek tortoise

The Greek tortoise (scient. Testudo graeca) or spur-thighed tortoise is a species of land turtle, which has been introduced to the island of Crete by humans and has survived with remarkable ease. It is found near the wetlands of the island and in shady humid forests.


Balcan terrapin

In Crete it is found anywhere there is fresh or brackish water. You'll see them sunning on the banks of rivers. When you approach their area, they disappear before you know it making a loud "plop". Crete is warm enough for them so they remain active throughout the year, but in times of drought they may get buried in the mud and hibernate during the summer.


Marginated Tortoise

The marginated tortoise (scient. Testudo marginata) is the largest European tortoise, reaching a weight of up to 5 kg and a length of 35 cm. It is not native species of Crete, although fossils have been found on the island. However, more and more domestic tortoises appear in the Cretan countryside, as they escape from their homes.


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