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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)




Diamondback Terrapin | Malaclemys terrapin photo
Adult female Diamondback turtle

Photograph by Mary Hollinger, NODC biologist, NOAA. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

DIAMONDBACK TERRAPIN FACTS

Description
The Diamondback Terrapin has a prominent diamond pattern on the shell. The shell color varies from brown to gray. Skin color can be gray, brown, yellow or white, with a pattern of fine black markings or spots on the body and head.

Size
length: males 13cm; females 20cm

Environment
found in brackish water. Needs access to soft dry sand or soil for nesting.

Food
mollusks, fiddler crabs, small fish. It has bony plates on the upper and lower mandibles to enable them to crush mollusk shells.

Breeding
Diamondback Terrapins breed in early spring. The female lays a clutch of 5-12 eggs in sand dunes in early summer. The young hatch in late summer or early fall.

Range
The Diamondback Terrapin is found from Cape Cod to Texas along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

Conservation Status
LR|nt

Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Testudines
Family:Emydidae
Genus:Malaclemys
Species:terrapin
Common Name:Diamondback Terrapin