Ornate Diamondback Terrapin - Malaclemys terrapin - Diamondback Concentric Turtle
The Malaclemys Terrapin has many aliases -- The Diamondback Terrapin, The Blue Headed Diamondback Concentric or simply The Diamondback terrapin. These terrapins are endemic to the brackish swamps of the eastern and southern Atlantic coast of U.S. Its natural range stretching from Cape Cod to Florida Keys is one of the largest turtle ranges. The Diamondback Terrapin was pushed to extinction by the once popular trend of serving turtle meat. The species is now protected in the state of Florida and the sale or purchase of any turtle born in captivity or wild born is prohibited. The possession of more than two Diamond back turtles is a punishable offence. The name ïDiamondbackÍ gets its name from the hexagonal-diamond shaped scutes on its carapace. They have an oblong carapace whose color may vary from grey, to brown or black. The carapace has ridges and grooved and the patterns are concentric. They carapace is usually keeled with blunt vertebral knobs or blobs or sharp keels. The shell is wedge shaped with a wide dorsal shell. The color of the plastron varies from yellow to green, olive or black. The plastrons are well adorned with patterns and dots. The head limbs and the tail are usually grey with speckles and spots of darker shades. The head is short, retractable with prominent eyes. The Diamondback Terrapin is an ideal aquarium turtle because of its charming looks, ease of care and a jolly temperament. The Diamondback Terrapin Habitat Diamondback ConcentricTerrapin inhabit brackish water bodies around the Atlantic coast of United States. They prefer marshes, coves, lagoons, coves and estuaries. They are active during the warm months of summer, hunting, feeding and storing fats for the colder months of scarcity. They are not very cold tolerant and need to hibernate during the months of winter. Hobbyists are advised to provide open habitats or ponds if possible.If not possible a 75 gallon water tank is recommended for a single male turtle. The females are larger than males and at least a 125 gallon tank is recommended. Larger pools offer more space to swim and ensure proper filtration of water. A basking platform that can support their weight should be fitted in the aquarium with a set of UVB light and a regular heating lamp. The aquarium temperature should be warm and the basking temperature should be around 85 degrees Fahrenheit. The Diamondback Terrapin is a brackish water species and introducing them to a fresh water aquarium environment can be difficult. For starters it is advised to start with hatchlings as their adaptability and survival rate is higher. However keep some amount of marine water handy to be mixed with your aquarium water. The Diamondback Terrapin Diet The Diamondback ConcentricTerrapins are carnivores and feed on cricket, aquatic insects, bloodworm, earthworm, periwinkle snail, tadpoles, fishes, crustaceans and smaller mollusks. In captivity you can also offer them clams, chunks of meat and fish and turtle pellets available in pet stores. A weekly dose of vitamin and calcium supplements should be mixed with their meal.