Diamondback Terrapin

Diamondback Terrapin
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  • Item #: DBT
Scientific Name:  Malaclemys terrapin

Identification:  Diamondback terrapins are among the most variable turtle species in North America and no two individuals are exactly alike in coloration and pattern. The shell is usually wider at the back than in the front, and from above its appears wedge-shaped. The shell coloring can vary from brown to grey, and its body color can be grey, brown, yellow, or white. All have a unique pattern of wiggly, black markings or spots on their body and head. The diamondback terrapin has large webbed feet.

Range:  Diamondback terrapins live in the very narrow strip of coastal habitats on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, from as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the southern tip of Florida and around the Gulf Coast to Texas. In most of their range terrapins live in Spartina marshes that are flooded at high tide, but in Florida they also live in mangrove swamps. This turtle can survive in freshwater as well as full-strength ocean water but adults prefer intermediate salinities.

Diet:  Diamondback terrapins consume fish, snails, worms, clams, crabs and marsh plants. In captivity, they do well on Mazuri and ReptoMin, Reptile/Pond 10, Cichlid Sticks, snails, crickets and assorted worms and insects. Crayfish have been known to cause fungus infections to captive DBT’s.

The common name refers to the diamond pattern on top of its shell (carapace). Terrapins look much like their freshwater relatives, but are well adapted to the near shore marine environment. They have several adaptations that allow them to survive in varying salinities. They can live in full strength salt water for extended periods of time, and their skin is largely impermeable to salt. Terrapins have lachrymal salt glands, not present in their relatives, which are used primarily when the turtle is dehydrated. They can distinguish between drinking water of different salinities. Terrapins also exhibit unusual and sophisticated behavior to obtain fresh water, including drinking the freshwater surface layer that can accumulate on top of salt water during rainfall and raising their heads into the air with mouths open to catch falling rain drops. The excess salt that terrapins consume in their diet is excreted through special glands at the eye.

Our Diamondback Terrapins are all raised in fresh water and a great turtle for a community habitat with Sliders, Cooters, Map Turtles and Painted Turtles, unless brackish water conditions area chosen.




Price $195.00
Availability Out-of-Stock

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