Thursday, September 07, 2006

malaclemys terrapin centrata

Carolina Diamondback Terrapin. These terrapins live in salt marsh, brackish creeks and the sound shallows from mid-coastal North Carolina to Florida. They are sexually dimorphic or the females are much larger than the males, to you and me. They hibernate in mud banks in the winter and mate in the spring laying their eggs in clutches of 5-12 May through August. Once the little devils hatch they mature in 2-3 years and live for approximately 20 years with a lot of luck. They are considered a "species of concern" in North Carolina. Loss of habitat is one of the problems. My husband Frank and I live on the Old Slough ( pronounce it slew ) which is a tidal creek that runs off of Ocracoke Inlet. For the past almost fourteen years we have had about four dozen beautiful terrapins come to our home every evening at about 6:30 for dinner. When I get home from work, I go out on my deck and there they are, waiting in the creek below. No matter how tired I am, the sight of them always brings a smile to my face. The patterns on their shells and bodies are beautiful and individual, no two are alike. They have little black beady eyes and I tell them they have faces only a mother would love. ( Yes, yes, I talk to them). Tomorrow I'll tell you what they eat and some of their antics. Till tomorrow then. Jude

You can read our latest newsletter here. It's a history of Ocracoke's historic Howard Street


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