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Northern Diamond-backed Terrapin   

Malaclemys terrapin terrapin

State Listing: Special Concern

Commonly Confused Native Species:


  • Often Not Confused with other Species




Size:                  A medium sized turtle measuring 4 to 9 inches in length



Color:                Diamond-backed terrapins have a keeled brownish

                           gray/black carapace.  Each scute has black markings that

                           loosely resemble a diamond pattern.   The plastron is

                           orange-brown often with dark flecks or blotches. The

                           body is grayish-white in color with black lines and



Behavior:         Terrapins spend the majority of their time in coastal

                           aquatic habitats.  Females come into terrestrial habitats

                           to lay eggs in June, when they are often seen crossing

                           roadways.  Terrapins are docile, when handled

                           they may bite in defense.         


Habitat:            Terrapins are a coastal species found in estuaries and

                           tidally influenced creeks and marshes.   



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