Diamondback Terrapin Turtle
The Diamondback Turtle (Malaclemys terrapin) is native to the United States and can be found in coastal swamps and marshes in coastal areas from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Cod. The turtle gets its name from the diamond shaped rings on its shell. It prefers brackish water which is a combination of salt and fresh water. Its habitat also includes estuaries, marshes and lagoons.
The Diamondback Turtle is threatened by natural causes such as predators but they are also threatened by man-made causes such as habitat destruction and climate change. The female turtles lay about 8-12 eggs each year from May to July. The sex of the new turtles is often determined by the temperature of the nest with higher temperatures producing more females. The chances for survival of the eggs is only 1%-3% and many more die off due to natural or man-made causes before reaching adulthood. Their predators include alligators, large birds and other reptiles who search for their eggs
The diet of a Diamondback Terrapin consists of fish, snails, worms, clams, crabs and marsh plants. I have never seen a Diamondback in the wild myself. I love the colors of it’s shell and other unique features.
I saw this turtle at the Calusa Nature Center in Ft. Myers which has a collection of live turtles, snakes and other types of wildlife that can be found in Florida. The nature center also has a great exhibit of stuffed animals that look real and are standing and walking through their natural habitats.
You can learn more about the Diamondback Turtle at defenders.org website.