Southcoast Terrapin Project

Southcoast Terrapin Project LogoNew in 2016, NECWA in collaboration with Mass Audubon at Wellfleet Bay began a study on Diamondback Terrapins Malaclemys terrapin in the marshes of Wareham, Marion, Mattapoisett and Pocasset, Massachusetts.

In the spring of 2016, NECWA staff and interns walked Aucoot Beach in Marion, and Cromeset Beach in, Wareham, in search of female terrapins coming up onto the beach to nest. The Diamondback Terrapin is the only brackish-water turtle that lives in the coastal marshes of New England. NECWA has now expanded our study on nesting females which is conducted from the end of May through mid-June. In late summer and early fall, NECWA also actively documents natural and predated nests in order to better understand the survivorship of hatchings (baby terrapins) or other new recruits in these areas.

Become part of our Southcoast Terrapin Project by getting involved. If you see a Diamondback Terrapin on a beach or in the water, alive or dead, please report your sightings below.

Needed Information:

  • Date and Time
  • General location
  • Latitude and Longitude (decimal degrees preferred)
  • Take photos
  • What was spotted? Nest or Terrapin?
  • If nest, intact or disturbed?
  • If Terrapin, how many observed? Alive or dead? In water or on land?

The Diamondback Terrapin,Malaclemys terrapin, is a Threatened species in Massachusetts. In the past, this medium-sized marsh turtle was abundant in many areas of New England. However, over-harvesting of terrapins for food and the destruction of their habitats has significantly reduced their population size and overall abundance.

Photo-Identification Techniques

Like all other animals, terrestrial and aquatic, photo-identification techniques can be used to identify individuals within a population. Since each Diamondback Terrapin has unique features and markings on their skin and shell, there is no need to mark or tag individual animals. Taking photographs of specific body features allows researchers to create catalogs of individuals within a population.

Report Your Sighting

Southcoast Terrapin Project - Report your sightings of Diamondback Terrapins in southeastern MA, by submitting a Southcoast Diamondback Terrapin Form below.

Report Terrapin

Other Ways to Get Involved

Volunteer with NECWA by becoming a member of our Southcoast Terrapin Team. Members are actively involved with walking beaches as well as checking coastal waters for observations of Diamondback Terrapins.

Help support our efforts through your donations. Each donation helps NECWA to purchase the necessary equipment and supplies to support this research.

Send a check or money order to:
NECWA - New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance
11 Clarence Soule Drive
Middleboro, MA 02346

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