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Unsexed Babies

Click photos below to enlarge.

After much deliberation, my husband and I decided to switch over what had once been a beloved aquarium to an aquatic turtle habitat. When we moved I had brought all my fish with me, as I had owned some of them for over 6 years. However, a late-blooming disease on a fish from a local aquarium store decimated my stock and I lost all but two. My husband can't stand how sad I get over a dead fish, so we decided to go with something a little more hardy, and something more interactive (my husband also doesn't enjoy fish like I do, but he gets a kick out of my tortoise's personality). So I went searching for a species I had wanted since I first saw them - the beautiful Northern Diamondback Terrapin! I remember the first time someone posted a photo of their terrapins, I was absolutely enthralled with their spotted milky white skin and the gorgeous unique markings and funky ridges on their shells. They are not your average-looking aquatic turtle, especially for people used to seeing Red-Eared Sliders and the like. Thankfully these days they are becoming more common, as in the 1900's they were nearly hunted to extinction for their meat, which was considered a delicacy. Today they are protected species in many states in their range, and even are listed as an endangered species in Rhode Island.

My little boogers hail from a breeder in Pennsylvania and hatched in early August 2014. A unique fact about this species is that they are the only aquatic turtle in the world that can and will live exclusively in brackish water environments (part saltwater - such as estuaries, tidal flats, and coves). However, I'm made it easier on myself to #1 get captive bred babies, and #2 get babies raised solely in fresh water. Northern Diamondback Terrapins are native to the US, though they look very foreign to me! They can be found in a widespread area, though true Northerns live along the East Coast from Massachusetts to North Carolina. It's very difficult to identify "pure" Northerns due to the incredible diversity in appearance within the species, and there may in fact not be any left, as terrapins from southern breeding farms have been released in the north and bred with the native animas. I picked the two animals that I did because they both have beautiful but different shell patterns, and "Kuna" has bluish skin, whereas "Coup" is very white. They spend their time swimming around a large aquarium with water currently in the high 70's and basking under a mercury vapor bulb (provides both UVA/UVB and heat) at a temp of around 90. Life is good - when they get bigger they will get to eat a wide variety of fun snacks like shrimp and snails!

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