Emydidae – Pond turtles

The large and most diverse family of turtles, commonly known as the Marsh turtles

Commonly referred to as the pond and box turtles, it is an extensive group of turtles with diverse species found primarily in the Western Hemisphere. These turtles are frequently encountered in permanent and intermittent freshwater environments, such as rivers, creeks, ponds, lakes, and marshes.

Emydidae turtles are known for their basking behavior, often seen soaking up the sun on land, logs, or tree branches. This basking is crucial because ectotherms rely on external heat sources to regulate their body temperature. The warmth they absorb from the sun aids their digestion and overall physiological processes.

Emydidae turtles share a close evolutionary relationship with tortoises, which is evident in their physical structure and sometimes terrestrial habits. However, unlike tortoises, Emydidae turtles are more adapted to life in or near water.

The popularity of Emydidae turtles in the pet trade has had a significant impact on their natural populations. Over-collection for sale as pets has become a considerable threat to many species within this family. Conservation efforts are required to regulate the trade and ensure that wild populations are not depleted.

Furthermore, the hatchlings of Emydidae turtles face a high mortality rate due to predation. In their natural habitats, these young turtles are easy prey for predators, including larger reptiles, birds, and mammals. The survival rate of hatchlings to adulthood is low, which is a natural control of their populations. However, this also means that any additional pressures from human activities can severely impact their numbers.