Chicken Turtle

Deirochelys reticularia

About This Animal

SIZE: 6”-9” (males are smaller)

RANGE: Coastal plain of the southeastern U.S.

HABITAT: Heavily-vegetated shallow, still waters

DIET: Aquatic insects, amphibian larvae, fish, invertebrates

ON EXHIBIT: Delta Country exhibit in River Journey

Chicken turtles are a native U.S. species that is unusual for a couple of reasons.  Recent research has indicated that chicken turtles only live for about 15 years, which is short compared to most turtle species.  Also, the species nests in late fall and the eggs overwinter and hatch the following spring.  The best way to differentiate chicken turtles from other species that are similar in appearance (such as cooters and sliders) is that when viewed from the back, chicken turtles appear to be wearing striped pants.  Next time you are in the Delta, take a look and you’ll see what we mean!