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Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin)

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Size:

Carapace (shell) length is 3 ½ -5 ½ inches in adult males, 6-9 inches in adult females, and 1-1 ¼ inches after hatching.

Appearance:

Deep diamond -like circular patterns on individual scutes (plates) on top of its gray to brownish-black shell. Conspicuous black spots and blotches on the head and neck of a light colored body ranging from white to gray; webbed feet with claws. The tail is longer and thicker in males compared to females.

Tracks:

Two sets of alternating J swirl shaped tracks imprinted in the sand, with a track that runs down the center created by the tail.

Where to Watch:

They can be found in brackish waters of coastal salt marshes, tidal creeks, estuaries, bays and coves.

They sometimes bask in the sun along creek banks at low tide or float motionless some distance from shore with just their head above the surface. Females can be found on beaches and in sand dunes when nesting.

When to Watch:

From late May until early July check on the beaches for nesting females that retreat from the water to lay their eggs.
If spotted, make sure to keep some distance between you and the turtle, because if disturbed the turtle will abandon her nest.

SOURCE: New York Dept. of Environment Conservation

-TSF-

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