Diamondback Terrapins, named for the diamond-shaped growth rings on their top shell, are the only U.S. turtles that inhabit brackish water, such as estuaries, tidal creeks, and salt marshes. They spend most of their life in one area, with no long-distance migrations, and stay close to shore, unlike sea turtles. As their habitat decreases in both quality and quantity, so do their numbers. Due in large part to their lack of viable habitat, they are considered to be a “species of concern” in Virginia. Pleasure House Point is a prime environment for the terrapin, making its continued care and enhancement even more significant.
Lynnhaven River Now is happy to be working with the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation Department on ways to protect the diamondback terrapin’s nesting habitat from human and dog traffic at Pleasure House Point. We have created a Google map of Pleasure House Point where anyone can leave the location, date, time and details of a Diamondback Terrapin sighting. If you’re out walking at Pleasure House Point and see a Diamondback Terrapin, or even an abandoned nest or eggs, add your sighting to the map here by:
- Signing in to your Google account
- Clicking on the red “Edit” button on the left hand side of the screen
- Selecting the balloon shaped symbol from the upper left side
- Placing it on the map at the approximate location of your sighting
The more information you can give in the description box, the better!
Another protection method we have available for Diamondback Terrapins are crab pot turtle excluders. The curious turtles swim into the crab pot opening and then get stuck and drown. To help save the Diamondback Terrapins, you can easily attach the orange plastic turtle excluders to the crab pot opening with wire. It reduces the height of the opening just enough that turtles with higher shells can’t get in, but crabs can. You can get plastic excluders for your crab pot free at our office at Brock Environmental Center, 3663 Marlin Bay Rd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455. Call 962-5398 or email.
View our Pleasure House Point Field Guide featuring the Diamondback Terrapin while you’re out strolling along the banks of the Lynnhaven River.
Click here for Mary Reid Barrow’s Virginian Pilot article about a baby Diamondback Terrapin we found on a LRNow Bird Walk.
Additional Diamondback Terrapin Resources: