Reptiles from the Late Triassic

By Amanda Simms

Turtles Basking on the Anacostia

I’m not talking about dinosaurs; I’m talking about turtles. It may surprise you to know the turtles existed when the last of dinosaurs were evolving in the late Triassic period, about 230 million years ago. Turtles can be found all over the world and there are approximately 300 species living today.

In the Anacostia watershed, we have 19 species of turtles. The most common in suburban areas (your backyard) is the box turtle. In coastal plain areas musk and mud turtles are most common. In different types of water, from freshwater to brackish (a mix of salt and fresh water) we see more snapping turtles. And in larger bodies of water like the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, sea turtles lurk.

A great place to see loads of snapping and box turtles is right here in the Anacostia watershed! A quick Google search led to me to a wonderful wildlife photographer “Mr. T in DC” who let me use the picture above in my post. The turtles in the picture above are Eastern Painted turtles common to the watershed.

On a more serious note, urbanization and pollution have led to the decline of many turtle species in this area. As water quality declines, so does the healthy turtle population.

If you would like to know more about when different species of turtles are active click here.


Reply to comment |

This is a topic which is close to my heart... Many thanks! Exactly where are your contact details though?

Reply to comment |

Very descriptive post, I enjoyed that bit. Will there be a part 2?



Browse our newsletter archive to read articles previously published in our quarterly newsletter, Voice of the River!


Stay informed of the latest watershed issues by subscribing to our free email updates & event announcements.