MARSH TURTLE OF EMYS ORBICULARIS (LINNAEUS, 1758) BOLOTNAYA SQUARE OF CHARAPAKH
Short description. Only representative of turtles in Belarus. Armor and integuments black, brownish or grayish-black. A carapace (the top armor), the head, a neck, extremities and a tail black with weak yellow or white mesh or spotty drawing. A plastron (the lower armor) also black, it is frequent with large yellow spots of irregular shape. Length of a carapace of adults to 210 mm, weight is up to 1,5 kg. Length of a carapace of young people right after an exit from egg from 25 to 30 mm, the mass of 5,7 — 6,5 g. Guards of an armor of adults relief, have well noticeable annual rings. Iris of the eye of eyes red or brownish-brown. Females differ in larger sizes of a body, a flat plastron and a tail, rather thinner at the basis.
In Belarus there takes place sowing. border of a specific area. The largest and phaeochrous subspecies living in Belarus are widespread also in the adjacent countries of Eastern Europe (Poland, Lithuania, sowing. part of Ukraine). The zone of distribution of a look in Belarus is limited yuzh now. part of the republic and in general coincides with the region of Polesia. Sometimes meets to the north of the main zone of distribution that is explained by release of the individuals who were contained in house conditions, and also that is not excluded, existence of separate relic populations. At the beginning of the last century the area of a look was much wider and reached to sowing. regions (Vitebsk Region) [1 — 3]
Courses and staritsa of the small forest rivers, low-lying bogs, meliorative channels and ponds of fish-breeding farms. Optimum habitats are the sites of landscapes low-transformed, seldom visited by people with a dense network of the reservoirs and bogs which are combined with the open heights serving as reproduction station.
Biology. The winter period is spent in a condition of hibernation in reservoirs which during a cold season quite often become covered with ice. After wintering wakens at the beginning of April at water temperature and it is above 10 — 12 °C of air. Pairing usually happens since the end of April on the 1st decade of May. In population in the ratio 2:1 females prevail. The season of reproduction is necessary for the end of May — the beginning of June (the first laying) and the beginning of July (the second laying). The repeated yaytsekladka is observed approximately at 15% of females. In the first laying from 8 to 22 eggs (on average 11 — 14), in the second — 3 — 5 eggs. In search of places of reproduction of a female quite often make extended land migrations (to 3 — 4 km). The vast majority of females for many years lays eggs in the same places. In favorable places during a season of reproduction about several tens females accumulate. As nested sites the open slopes of sandy hills sometimes covered with lightly forested pine forests are usually used. Development of embryos proceeds 57 — 65 days. The part of young people cherepashat leaves a nest in August of the same year, however the majority winters in nested chambers and appears only at the end of April of the next year. Life expectancy of a marsh turtle in the conditions of Belarus till 25 years. The range of food of a look is made by almost exclusively water invertebrates: Gastropoda mollusks, larvae of caddis flies, larvae and adult plavunets, larvae of dragonflies, etc. Corpses of vertebrate animals are occasionally eaten (fishes, amphibians).
Number and tendencies of its change
From the second half of 20 century the number of a marsh turtle in the republic is quickly reduced. According to the latest data, in Belarusian Polesia it meets only in 4,2% of reservoirs. In Belarus the kernel of nominative subspecies making about 60% of its total number (about 7 — 9 thousand individuals)  is located. The average level of density of the Belarusian population makes 15 — 20 pieces/hectare of the area of a reservoir now. The greatest density (to 150 pieces/hectare) is noted on separate sites of fish-breeding ponds and some forest rivers.
Major factors of threat. Decrease in number of a marsh turtle in Belarus is connected with radical transformation and reduction of the area of the natural habitats which followed anthropogenous changes of natural landscapes, drainage of boggy lands, ridging and a flattening of beds of many rivers. Negative impact on reproduction of population is exerted by destruction of the collective station of reproduction dated for sandy heights which are quite often developed for receiving construction materials (sand and gravel). The marsh turtle is extremely sensitive to a concern factor in this connection she is very rare in the urbanized landscapes.
Protection measures. It is included in the Red List of Republic of Belarus since 1981. The main natural wildlife reserve in preservation of a marsh turtle in Belarus is the Polesia radiation and ecological reserve  now. The safe condition of specific population in this region is connected with gradual restoration of number which was promoted by eviction of locals, complete cessation of everyone hoz. activity, secondary bogging of earlier reclaimed lands and the nature protection mode of the territory. For real preservation it is white. population needs allocation of the new protected territories and special measures for protection of station of reproduction. Also promotion of scientific knowledge of reptiles is necessary.
Author Drobenkov S. M.
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