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Eli’s Fish Facts: Turtle Edition!

Eli’s Fish Facts: Turtle Edition!

Diamondback Terrapin

Malaclemys terrapin

Late this winter CURB welcomed its first diamondback terrapin to the interpretive center! Chip arrived to us from Teatown Lake Reservation where he was being rehabilitated and has been settling in nicely to his new home at CURB. He is a friendly, and yes, plump, turtle, always excited to greet visitors walking up to his tank, and avidly enjoying all the snacks our staff provides.

Like other turtles, terrapins are reptiles, but unlike the rest of the turtles housed at CURB, diamondback terrapins are actually native to estuaries in New York (and elsewhere throughout the Eastern seaboard). In fact, they are believed to be the only turtle in the world that lives exclusively in brackish tidal waters. They have very sturdy legs and heavily webbed feet, making them strong swimmers, able to handle the strong currents and tidal changes in their habitat.

Diamondback terrapins are objectively beautiful, from their patchy skin to their diamond-shaped scutes (the plates that make up their shell). Amazingly, no two terrapin’s shell patterns are alike, making their carapace similar to a human’s fingerprint! Clearly, we are just thrilled to have Chip living in our center. Come by and say hello! He’ll surely enjoy it.