Black-knobbed Map Turtle (Graptemys nigrinoda)

…a species of emydid turtle that is endemic to the southeastern United States, specifically the Mobile Bay drainages in Mississippi and the Tombigbee/ Black Warrior River systems in Alabama. Black-knobbed map turtles are typically active from April to late November and have a diet that consists mainly of algae, insects, mollusks, sponges and bryozoans. As its common name suggests G. nigridoda’s first four vertebrate posessing knob like processes. The second and third processes typically more dominant and will reduce with age. G. nigridoda is also sexually dimorphic with females being twice the size as males, poscessing higer carapaces, and shorter tails than males.

Currently Graptemys nigrinoda is listed as near threatened and faces threats from habitat degradation and habitat loss.


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Emydidae-Deirochelyinae-Graptemys-G. nigrinoda

Images: graptemys.com and M. North

Escambia Map Turtle - Graptemys ernsti

This is an adult male of the species Graptemys ernsti (Testudines - Emydidae), a rare and Near Threatened turtle endemic to the United States, restricted to parts of the Escambia, Yellow, and Shoal rivers and their tributaries in western Florida and adjoining Alabama.

This is a medium to large size turtle. Males are up to 12.7 cm as adults and females are about 29 cm.  It has a domed shell keel that is exaggerated as a hatchling and slowly wears down with age, especially old females.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Kenneth P. Wray | Locality: Northwest Florida, US (2007)

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Trachemys scripta elegans “Red-eared Pond Slider” Emydidae

Washington Park Arboretum, Seattle, WA
May 9, 2016
Robert Niese

Red-eared Sliders are a distinct subspecies of Pond Slider popular in the pet industry. Originally native to the southern US, these animals have been introduced to nearly every state including Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Guam. As such, they are on the IUCN’s list of the 100 most invasive species in the world. They have not yet been reported in Montana, Alaska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, or North Dakota. If you see a Red-eared Slider in one of these states, contact your state’s Fish and Wildlife department immediately. Here in the PNW, these turtles out-compete native Western Painted Turtles (Chrysemys picta bellii) and the threatened Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata).

Blanding’s Turtle (Emydoidea blandingii)

Also recorded as Emys blandingii, Blanding’s turtle is an endangered species of semi-aquatic marsh turtle (Emydidae) which is native to North America, where it occurs mainly in the great lakes region, extending into central Nebraska and Minnesota. Like many other members of its family, Blanding’s turtles are primarily encountered in wetlands, typically with clean shallow water. They are also known to wander far from water, primarily during the nesting season. Blanding’s turtles are omnivorous, feeding on a range of freshwater invertebrates, carrion, berries and other plant matter .

Currently Emydoidea blandgingii is listed as endangered by the IUCN, as it faces major threats from habitat fragmentation/destruction as well as nest predation by introduced predators. 


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Emydidae-Emydinae-Emydoidea-E. blandingii

Image: Me!

Terrapene carolina triungis | ©Dietrich Meyer   (Bryan, Texas, US)

Terrapene carolina (Emydidae) is a species of box turtle found throughout the eastern United States and Mexico. It has six recognized subspecies, four of them are found in the United States, and two subspecies are found in Mexico. 

All box turtles have a bilobed, hinged plastron that allows the turtle to close its shell almost completely (that is why they are named box turtles). When frightened, box turtles retract their head, tail, and limbs into their shell and clamp it shut.

Terrapene carolina triungis (pictured) occurs in the Mississippi River Valley from northern Missouri southward across southeastern Kansas and eastern Oklahoma into south-central Texas, and southeastward across western Tennessee and Georgia to the coastal lowlands. It is known as the Three-toed box turtle by having only three toes on their hind feet instead of the normal four.


Hispaniolan Slider (Trachemys decorata)

Also sometimes known as the Hatian Slider, the Hispaniolan slider is a species of pond turtle (Emydidae) which is endemic to the Dominican Republic and Haiti (Hispaniola). Hispaniolan sliders are a freshwater species inhabiting freshwater ponds, lakes, and rivers and feeding on a range of aquatic insects, vegetation, and occasionally fish. 


Animalia-Chordata-Reptilia-Testudines-Emydidae-Deirochelyinae-Trachemys-T. decorata

Image: Brian Gratwicke

Carolina Diamondback Terrapin - Malaclemys terrapin centrata

An attractive adult male of the Carolina Diamondback Terrapin, Malaclemys terrapin centrata (Testudines - Emydidae), a subspecies found from Cape Hatteras, North Carolina to northern Florida, in the United States.

Reference: [1

Photo credit: ©Kevin Stohlgren | Locality: Glynn Co., Georgia, US (2013)

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Red-eared Slider @ The Centennial Park Conservatory, Etobicoke (indoors, minimal light).

The red-eared slider is often sold in pet stores, but is not native to Ontario. Never release your pet turtle into the wild. They may carry diseases that threaten our native turtles, and are not likely to survive.

There are confirmed sightings of Red-eared sliders throughout the Greater Toronto Area because they have been abandoned by irresponsible pet owners. The Red-eared slider competes with native turtles for food and basking sites and can make our turtles sick. It can also occupy areas that are favourable nesting and over-wintering sites for native turtles. If you no longer want your pet turtle check out  turtle foster homes here

Turtles face a threat from one of their own: red-eared invaders

Red-eared Slider - Trachemys scripta elegans

The Red-eared Slider, Trachemys scripta elegans (Testudines - Emydidae) is ‘the’ traditional pet turtle, farmed in large quantities in the southern USA for the global pet trade.

It is a semiaquatic turtle found throughout the United States east of the Rockies to extreme northeastern Mexico. It is said that some 3 to 4 million Red-eared sliders are exported from the United States every year. Most originate from intensive farms in Louisiana and Mississippi. However, the same commercial turtle hunters who supply replacement breeding stock for these farms are also responsible for collecting as many as 25,000 - 30,000 adult animals per week for export to foreign food markets (mainly in the Far East). 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Jon Nelson | Locality: not indicated (2012)

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Pond slider - Trachemys scripta

Trachemys scripta (Emydidae) is a species of xx native to the United States and Mexico, which has been introduced in many countries around the world.

Pond sliders are aquatic, omnivorous generalists, which rarely leave water except to bask.

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©e_monk | Locality: Lake Lynn, Westlake, Raleigh, North Carolina, US (2010)

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Red-eared Slider @ Reptile Breeders Expo, International Centre, Toronto (Indoors). [Bottom photo is from last year’s Expo]

“My name is Audrey. I survived over 20 years living in a bucket and I’m now a spokes-turtle for animal cruelty against reptiles.

I was born a perfectly normal red eared slider. However, I was kept in a bucket and not cared for properly for over 20 years. As the walls of my home closed in on me I deformed in order to survive. When my original owner passed away I was brought to a shelter to be put down but the vet took pity on me and gave me a second chance at life.

I was transferred between specialists before ending up at the Little RES Q turtle rescue in Toronto Ontario Canada. Now I’m part of their team as a spokes-turtle for animal cruelty against reptiles.

My name is Audrey, and I’m beautiful.”