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Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center Animal Fact Sheet
Malaclemys terrapin

Atlantic coast from Massachusetts to Florida and along the Gulf Coast of Mexico from New England to Texas.

The Diamondback Terrapin varies in appearance; its shell ranges from a pale yellow-green to black. The top shell, also referred to as the carapace, is typically a gray, light brown, or black. The under shell, also referred to as the plastron, ranges from yellowish to greenish gray. Their skin can either be uniform or carry spots or streaks. They are known for their diamond-shaped growth rings on the top shell.
The Northern Diamondback Terrapin hibernates during the winter resting on the bottom of the estuary or in marsh channels.
It has been studied and found that Diamondback Terrapins sex determination is dependent on temperature. Research with artificial incubation of eggs shows that low temperatures produce males, and higher temperatures produce females.

The Northern Diamondback Terrapin is currently at a threatened status (IUCN). Their largest threat is habitat destruction, road construction, and crab traps.

Habitat: Found mainly in tidal flats, coves, estuaries, coastal marches, inner edges of barrier beaches, salt and brackish waters.
Diet: Fish, marine snails, invertebrates, marine and tidal mollusks, carrion, clams, worms, gastropods, crab, and occasional small fish.
Status: Near Threatened (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult: Length: 4-6.5 in
Weight: 2-4 lbs
Lifespan: 20-40 years
Reproduction & Offspring:

Mating season occurs in the spring and in early summer. The female leaves the water to dig a nest and lay her eggs above the high tide. She will lay two clutches of 8-18 eggs each season.


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