Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Cousin: The Diamondback Turtle

Let's take a minute to learn a little about my hard-shelled cousins. In case you want to own a turtle someday, I decided to toss in an occasional incredible species of terrapin and give you the fun facts to know.

Talk about handsome!

The Diamondback terrapin is the only species of turtle in North
America that spends its life in brackish water (salty but less so
than sea water). Although diamondbacks are highly aquatic, in the
wild they often bask on logs during warm weather.

Diamondback turtles have concentric, somewhat diamond-shaped
markings and grooves on the scutes (plates) of their carapace (top
shell), which ranges from medium gray or brown to nearly black.
Skin color ranges from pale to dark gray or black, flecked with
dark spots, blotches or stripes. The hingeless plastron (bottom
shell) is yellow to green or black and may be marked with dark
figures and blotches. The feet are strongly webbed; the hindfeet
are especially large and flat. Diamondbacks hibernate during the
cold winter months buried in the mud.

Diamondbacks live in coastal salt marshes, estuaries, and tidal
creeks along the U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Cape Cod,
Massachusetts, to western Texas, including the Florida Keys.
Diamondbacks are well adapted for eating hard-shelled prey
including aquatic snails, crabs, and small bivalves (e.g., blue
mussels). They also eat carrion, fish, marine worms, and plant


  1. Very interesting! Ever notice how terrapins always seem to be smiling or is it just me?