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What's a Diamondback Terrapin Turtle?

Learn about the diamondback terrapin turtle from veterinarian Alix Wilson in this Howcast video.


The diamond back terrapin is native to North America. They are named for the diamond back pattern on their top shell or their carapace. So their habitat is the coast line extending from Maine down to Florida and then west into Texas. They're an unusual species that's found often in brackish water. Brackish water is salty but not as salty as ocean water.

So again, they're aquatic turtles. They're carnivorous. They eat snails and other shellfish, small fish. Adult males grow to be about five inches, and the adult females are larger at nine inches.

They can be kept as pets. There's a lot of debate about what type of water to provide for them in their aquarium setup. It is difficult to maintain a brackish water setup in captivity so some keepers of diamond back terrapins opt to just maintain them in fresh water. Others feel like they do better with some salinity.

Again, they do need a land portion to come out and bask. The water temperatures should be maintained between 75 and 80 degrees, and again a basking area over 85 degrees is recommended.

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