The diamondback terrapin is an iconic turtle of the coastal salt marshes of the northeastern United States. Found throughout estuaries, shallow bays, and tidal creeks, these reptiles prefer brackish water, but also need periodic access to fresh water to avoid dehydration. Salt glands around their eyes allow them to secrete excess salt from their bloodstream.
The terrapin’s shell is covered with its namesake diamond-shaped scutes, or bony plates. Each scute has concentric growth rings at the center, which have been often cited—perhaps erroneously—as a way to estimate their age.
The diamondback’s striking skin can range from white to dark gray or even bluish with black markings. There are seven recognized subspecies throughout their range, which runs along the Atlantic