The Diamondback Terrapin – Facts and Profile
The diamondback terrapin is one of the most beautiful turtles in North America. They are found along the eastern coast and down the southern edges of North America over to the Texas coast. diamondback terrapins are primarily found in the lagoons and salt marshes found throughout the coastline. While this turtle can tolerate salt water, they do have to stay near a clean drinking water source to survive. They are particularly fond of areas that are brackish, and thrive in these environments.
One of the first things that strikes you when you see a diamondback terrapin is their beautiful carapace or shell. They are named the diamondback terrapin because of the rings of growth found on top of their shell that resemble the Chrysler automobile emblem. They are not very large at all, measuring about nine inches in length. They are dark brown to black with yellow or light colored trim on the carapace. The head of the diamondback terrapin is sturdy and is often yellowish with black spotting. They have a typical turtle like jaw that resembles a beak, and use it to crush their prey.
The diamondback terrapin eats mainly clams, crabs and insects but will also pursue fish when the opportunity arises. Anything small enough that they can grab in their beak is open game for this North American turtle, and they will eat a wide range of prey. Crustaceans are high on the list as they are easily captured and crushed with the diamondback terrapin’s strong beak.
While the diamondback terrapin is considered rather common in their range, they spend a good deal of time hunting. When they are not eating or hunting, they are often found lazing on a fallen log or tree or walking on land to other feeding zones. They can be spotted fairly easily if you look in the areas that they inhabit.
The diamondback terrapin is not especially aggressive, but they will bite if handled. Most diamondback terrapins will hide away and jump in the water long before you can approach closely. If you encounter a diamondback terrapin, then you should leave it alone and let it go on it’s way. They are gems in our animal kingdom, and deserve to live their lives in peace.