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Chicken Turtle Deirochelys reticularia


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Chicken Turtle, Florida subspecies
credit: Eugene van der Pijil

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Family: Emydidae, Pond and Box Turtles view all from this family

Description Unusually long, striped neck that is close to the length of the shell, with a yellow stripe on both the forelegs and rear legs. Net-like pattern on carapace. Carapace is pear-shaped, and is an olive to dark brown. Females are usually larger than the males, and males have a longer, thicker tail. Males also have longer front claws.

Dimensions 10.2-25.4cm. (4-10")

Subspecies Eastern Chicken Turtle - Green/brown netlike pattern on Carapace. Virginia coastal plain to Mississipi river.
Florida Chicken Turtle - Orange rim on carapace, yellow/orange plastron. Flordia peninsula.
Western Chicken Turtle - net-like lines on carapace, dark seam on plastron. Oklahoma, Louisiana to Texas, to Mississippi river.

Breeding Year round in Florida, march in South Carolina. 5-15 eggs in a clutch, multiple clutches. Laid in a cavity 4"(10.2cm) deep. Mature after 2-4 years. Females 6-8 years.

Habitat Ponds, lakes, streams and swamps. Slow-moving and shallow.

Range Virginia to Florida coastal plain, Texas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

Discussion Migrates between aquatic habitats or seeking areas to burrow into the soil and escape dry conditions. Males generally travel around farther than females. Social, spending much of their time basking on logs and rocks and swim in small groups. Hibernate in the soft mud, but only in the northern part of the range, and vegetation of bodies of water. They are known to be timid and if caught they generally will bite very easily.