I’m not a University of Maryland fan, but I do like their mascot, the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin).  It’s the only US turtle specially adapted to life in brackish (not salt) water, and they prefer coastal estuaries to either fresh water or full ocean salinity.  Today, they have “near threatened” status, with limited populations from New England all the way through the Gulf Coast of Texas, as well as Bermuda.  After being aggressively hunted for food in the early 1900s, populations dropped dramatically – they aren’t eaten much anymore (in some states hunting them is still allowed), but they suffer from wetland habitat loss, being killed by cars, and natural predation.

Photo Credit – Lynn Abbott

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