Diamondback terrapin

Only species of turtles endemic to the United States

Ryan Hagerty

The turtle is also the official reptile of the state of Maryland, USA, and is known for the distinctive diamond-shaped rings covering its shell that also give it its name. It lives in and around the brackish tidal waters, including rivers and marshes. Just like human fingerprints, no two diamondback terrapins are identical in color and pattern.

They use their strong, bony jaws to crush the shells of their prey and usually feed on mollusks, crustaceans, fish, carrion, and invertebrates. They are hunted for their meat, and coastal development has also led to the loss of nesting beaches which puts them under threat of becoming endangered in years to come.


Population est.
Origin Uncertain
United States

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No