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The Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin) or simply terrapin, is a species of turtle native to the brackish coastal swamps of the eastern and southern United States. They live in the very narrow strip of coastal habitats on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States, from as far north as Cape Cod, Massachusetts to the southern tip of Florida and around the Gulf Coast to Texas. In most of their range terrapins live in Spartina marshes that are flooded at high tide, but in Florida they also live in mangrove swamps. This turtle can survive in freshwater as well as full-strength ocean water. The excess salt that terrapins consume in their diet is excreted through special glands at the eye. Diamondback terrapins are among the most variable turtle species in North America and no two individuals are exactly alike in coloration and pattern. The feet are strongly webbed; the hind feet are especially large and flat. These large webbed feet and muscular legs enable terrapins to be strong swimmers, an ability needed when living in an environment with daily tidal changes and strong currents.
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