Turtle Facts


Toby the turtle is a special kind of turtle. In fact, Toby is a Diamondback Terrapin. Toby, his brothers, his sisters, and his mother are all the same type. They get the name Diamondback from the shape and design on their shell. Can you see the diamond shape on his shell? 

The diamond shapes are growth rings.

Like snowflakes and fingerprints, there are no two shells exactly alike.

Diamondback Terrapins live along the coast in the marshes, estuaries, and bays beside the Atlantic Ocean from Rhode Island to Florida. They are also found in the swampy waters along the Gulf of Mexico, reaching as far west as Texas.

The construction of roads and homes have destroyed much of their native habitat and makes it hard for the females to find nesting sites. The pregnant females often cross dangerous roads, and are difficult to see, especially at night. Slow down when traveling on these coastal roads.

The shell on top is called a carapace.

Turtle babies are called hatchlings.

They have a long lifespan from about 25-40 years.

The Diamondback Terrapin is light grey, brown, or black on top with a bottom shell that can be yellow, green, or black. It has webbed feet and strong claws, a strong jaw, and a horned beak with a mustache above its mouth.

These turtles are natives of the eastern and southern United States.

The are reptiles from a species called Chelonia.

Their diet includes fish, worms, shellfish, barnacles,and marsh plants.

Their strong upper and lower jaw helps them crush the shells of their food.

The diamondback terrapin is found along the Atlantic Coast of the eastern United States from Cape Cod in Rhode Island to the most southern tip in Florida, and also west, along the Gulf of Mexico, where they are found as far west as Texas. 

Diamondback terrapins are thought to be the only turtle in the world that lives only in brackish water-a mix of salt and fresh water which contains does salt, but less salty than ocean water.

It’s habitats include the bay, tidal marshes, estuaries (the mouths of rives), and lagoons

The higher the temperature of the nest (the warmer the temperature), more females will hatch.

Lower nest temperatures will cause more male turtles.

The babies are called hatchlings.

The hatchlings will emerge from August to October.

They love to bask in the sun.

After they hatch, some of the terrapins will remain in the nest during the winter, although most will leave the nest for the nearest body of water.

A female full grown will average 7.5 inches and weigh 1.5 pounds.

A full grown male will average 5 inches in size and weigh half a pound.

They have a long lifespan from about 25-40 years.

Diamondback terrapins have webbed feet, which helps them be strong swimmers when the tide changes