The Balcan terrapin (scient. Mauremys rivulata) is the most common species of terrestrial turtles and the only native tortoise on the island of Crete. It is met in the wetlands of the island which are located in altitudes up to 800m. It is also known as Balcan pond turtle.
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.
The length of its shell reaches 30cm, while females are larger than males. It is a coward omnivore animal that feeds primarily on invertebrates, small fish, amphibians, snakes, corpses and plants. Females lay 4-6 eggs in deep holes dug in soil, after they get sexually mature (at the 10th year of their life).