This is one of the oldest evolutionary groups of reptiles. It is divided into four families comprising nearly 300 different species. Turtle’s body is surrounded by a protective sheath called "shell". This shell consists of a curved dorsal part (carapace) and a flat ventral part (plastron). Shell in several species has the roll of armor since both the head and the other limbs of the animal can be withdrawn inside the shell for protection. Like other reptiles, turtles can be found in all continents, except Antarctica, even in places with very low temperatures.


Three species of turtles can be found in Cyprus. Two of them are marine turtles and one live in the rivers of the island. All of them are strictly protected both by European directives and National legislation. No terrestrial turtles are found in Cyprus.



Turtles’ body is covered by scales just like snakes or lizards although it appears some distinct characteristics. Those characteristics have to do with the presence of the shell with its two plate layers. The outer layer constitute from keratin while the inner one from ossein. Through the aging procedure and with the increase of the body size, new layers of keratin adjoin beneath the old once.



The skeleton of turtles is very different that the skeleton of all the other types of reptiles and that is because of the shell. The back section of the dorsal vertebra along with the flanks of the species are merged to the ossein part of the shell composing a united, strong and hard body.



Although turtles have inner and middle ear, the perception of sound is limited.

Smell - sight

Contrary to hearing, turtles possess very good smell and sharp sight. It seems that they are able to distinctive colors as good as humans.


Turtles don’t have teeth like other reptiles and their mouth resemble the bill of birds instead of the mouth of lizards of snakes. Instead of teeth, they have hard keratin cases through which they crush their food. They are mainly omnivorous although some species from abroad are carnivorous feeding with frogs, fishes and other small animals they can catch.

About Us



Herpetological Society of Cyprus (HSC) was established in 1990 with the aim of promoting, studying and conserving Cyprus’ herpetofauna. As part of its work, HSC fulfill presentations, educational seminars, studies and researches, along with other activities that relates with informing and educating the public about reptiles Cyprus.

Contact Details
           Address:   Herpetological Society,
                            P.O box 61435,
                            Paphos, Cyprus
           Tel:          +357 26 967600
           Fax:         +357 26 967007
           Email: HerpetSocietyCy@gmail.com


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