Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission announces Diamondback Terrapin conservation changes
Updated: Mar 21, 2022
A mangrove diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin rhizophorarum), image from Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission.
As of March 1st, 2022, diamondback terrapin collection in Florida is prohibited outside of the collection for scientific research with a valid permit. Commercial and private sales of diamondback terrapins are also prohibited as of March 1st.
Five subspecies of diamondback terrapin occur in coastal Florida, three of them are endemic to the state (i.e., not found anywhere else in the world). Diamondback terrapins are favored in the global pet trade for their friendly nature and unique appearance. Terrapins are not federally listed as threatened or endangered but are listed by some states within their range. None of the subspecies are listed in Florida.
Current diamondback terrapin owners can submit a no-cost Personal Possession permit to keep terrapins they possessed prior to March 1. This permit will need to be reinstated every 10 years per terrapin and will extend for the entire lifetime of the terrapin. Personal owners and educational providers have until May 31st to apply. Other conservation measures for terrapins, such as changes in blue crab trap design, will be in effect on March 1, 2023.