Northern Diamondback Terrapin
By Beth and Tom C
Malaclemys terrapin terrapin
6 - 9"
marine snails, invertebrates, marine and tidal mollusks, carrion, clams, worms,
Low to mid 80's
Basking Temperature: High 80's to low 90's
Low to mid 70's
1.017 - 1.012
7.5 - 8.25
Tidal flats, coves, estuaries,
coastal marches, inner edges of barrier beaches, salt and brackish water that
are sheltered and unpolluted waters.
Massachusetts to Texas and North
if it is Captive-Bred. If terrapin is Wild-Caught it would be better off for
intermediate and experienced keepers.
These are aggressive baskers, so a
basking spot is required. UVB lighting is needed as well as a heat lamp over the
basking spot. A submersible heater is recommended if the water temps fall below
the recommendation. They are excellent swimmers and their captive habitat should
have a water depth as deep as possible. Substrate should be anywhere from a sand
to a fine-to-large size gravel. Abundant vegetation, either artificial or real,
Recommended size for a single 6" male
adult would be a 55 gallon aquarium as a minimum (65 gallon or larger preferred)
for males, and a 75 gallon aquarium as a minimum (90 gallons or larger
preferred) for females. This will provide adequate swimming area, as well as
assisting the filtration in maintaining good water quality. For additional
space, I would recommend adding 30 gallons of tank space per additional turtle
at a minimum.
Stock Tanks and Rubbermaid containers
also work well. The same space recommendations remain the same.
In captivity, they do well on
Mazuri and ReptoMin, Reptile/Pond 10, Cichlid Sticks, snails,
crickets and assorted worms and insects.
Crayfish have been known to cause fungus infections to captive DBT’s
Ornate Diamondback Terrapins are a
great turtle for a community habitat with Sliders, Cooters, other Map Turtles
and Painted Turtles, unless brackish water conditions area chosen.
DBT’s do well
in both fresh water and brackish water. DBT’s are known for fighting between each other, especially