Although the European pond turtle will bask on the shore or on floating logs/emerging objects during the day, this shy species will dive back into the water if disturbed (10). The species hunts underwater for fish, amphibians, tadpoles, worms, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic insects, as well as foraging for the occasional plant (2) (10). The diverse climatic conditions of its extensive distribution means that, in the northern parts of its range, this turtle is forced to hibernate for long periods during the cold winter months, while in warmer, more southerly areas, it often aestivates to escape the summer’s heat (2) (9).
The European pond turtle usually emerges from hibernation by around the end of March, and mating begins from March to May, depending on the latitude (2) (11). 3 to 16 eggs, usually nine or ten, are laid in May and June in small holes dug in the ground (2) (10). The incubation period varies from around 57 to 90 days, and young may emerge in autumn or stay in the nest until the following spring (10) (11). In the northern parts of its range, a long hot summer is required for eggs to hatch, so this turtle may only successfully reproduce one in every four or five years (2). Since the life span of this long-lived turtle can exceed over 100 years, however, there are a number of potential opportunities to successfully produce young (10). Like many turtle species, the sex of offspring is dependent upon the incubation temperature, with females only produced at 28 degrees Celcius or higher (2) (11).