You can help terrapins! Please report sightings of diamondback terrapins in the Indian River Lagoon using our reporting form. Pictures and GPS coordinates are especially helpful!
Diamondback terrapins are unique turtles that live in brackish coastal habitats like our local Indian River Lagoon and are easily identified by the distinctive spotted pattern on their light-colored skin. There are seven subspecies of diamondback terrapin that live along the Atlantic coast from Massachusetts, down into the Florida Keys and around the Gulf coast to Texas; all are believed to be in decline due to historic over-harvesting, habitat destruction, crab trap mortalities and predation by animals, such as raccoons. The Florida east coast diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin tequesta) is the subspecies found in the Indian River Lagoon. Click here to view further information and photos about diamondback terrapins.
It’s a group effort! The Florida Atlantic Coast Terrapin Team (FACTT) consists of the Zoo, Florida Department of Environmental Protection Indian River Lagoon Aquatic Preserves, St. Johns River Water Management District, Florida Institute of Technology and other environmental and wildlife agencies. The goal of this group is to identify population locations of our local terrapin subspecies, the Florida east coast diamondback terrapin, as well as address the threats they face. FACTT focuses on creating public awareness about these unique turtles to ensure their protection.
The Zoo is also a pickup location for free bycatch reduction devices (BRD), a simple add-on to crab traps which prevent diamondback terrapins from entering the trap and accidentally drowning. To find a pickup location near you, click here.