Diamondback Terrapin Lifespan: How Long Can They Live?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Turtles are indeed blessed with long lifespans. But you can not expect every species to live more than a century. There are turtles with a moderate lifespan, for example, diamondback terrapins. So, how long can diamondback terrapins live?

The average lifespan of a healthy diamondback terrapin is 25 to 40 years. Yes, a turtle of this species can live more than 40 years. Unfortunately, no accurate longevity range is available due to a lack of data.

Do the wild and captive diamondback terrapins have the same life expectancy? How can you make your pet diamondback terrapin live longer? The following article answers everything.

Diamondback Terrapin Lifespan: How Long Can They Live?

Diamondback terrapin can live around 25 to 40 years. This information is based on the collected data from the owners and researchers. However, some sources claim that a diamondback terrapin can live longer than this estimated age.

Diamondback terrapins live a private life, hiding from the eyes of people. Hence, the experts have data only from the captive turtles, which is only enough to make an educated guess at the longevity of this species.

Different diamondback terrapins and their lifespan,

Diamondback Terrapin SubspeciesScientific NamesLifespan
Northern Diamondback TerrapinMalaclemys t. TerrapinUp to 40 years
Texas Diamondback TerrapinMalaclemys terrapin littoralisUp to 40 years
Mississippi Diamondback TerrapinMalaclemys terrapin pileataUp to 40 years
Carolina Diamondback TerrapinMalaclemys terrapin centrataUp to 40 years

Get a detailed profile on different diamondback terrapin species from this link.

Diamondback Terrapin Care Infographic

diamondback terrapin care infographic

Want a printable version of this infographic? Click Here!

Factors That Influence Captive Diamondback Terrapin Lifespan

A pet diamondback terrapin enjoys a healthy lifespan. It is because the creature has access to good food, luxurious tanks, and quality health care. But yet, some turtles can not make it to the fullest. Why is that?

It is because there are several standards you have to maintain to ensure a long lifespan for your pets. For example,

1. Tank Condition

Diamondback terrapins are medium-sized. They grow up to 11 inches, and so a 75-gallon tank is enough to accommodate an adult terrapin. But, of course, a bigger tank will be of more use and make the turtle more comfortable.

But if you provide the turtles with a congested tank, it will affect both their mental and physical health. As a result, the terrapin will not be able to enjoy its lifespan to the fullest.

Again, the diamondback terrapins need a large basking dock with a heating and UV lamp.

A diamondback terrapin requires basking under UV light. It helps them stay warm and dry and soak the UVB exposures. As a consequence, the turtles get a healthy bone structure and stay away from infectious diseases.

The terrapin will fall sick if any of these supplies are missing. As you know, any illness affects the lifespan of turtles.

2. Environmental Factors

A diamondback terrapin thrives at 75 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature higher or lower than this makes this turtle uncomfortable. Hence, you have to maintain this particular temperature range with a water heater and heating lamp.

If you fail to manage the suitable temperature range, it can expose the terrapin to diseases, influencing its lifespan negatively.

Another environmental factor you should consider is cleanliness.

Diamondback terrapins can survive harsh environments, but filthy enclosure makes them vulnerable. It exposes the turtles to bacterial or fungal infections like shell rot, respiratory illness, mouth infection, eye infection, parasites, etc.

These diseases can make the health condition of the terrapins worse and decrease their lifespan.

3. Food Habit

Apparently, pet turtles do not have to stress over foods like the wild ones. Instead, the owners provide them with a meal regularly.

But here is the deal. You can not just feed the turtles anything anytime. Overfeeding leads to obesity in terrapins, which is responsible for kidney stones, liver failure, or more complex diseases. Unfortunately, there is no cure for these conditions, and the turtles will die soon.

Hence, follow a healthy meal routine to ensure a long lifespan of the diamondback terrapins. For example, follow the 15-minute or the head method to determine the food quantity. Then, again, feed the babies every day and the adult turtles thrice a week.

4. Medical Emergency

Often the owners fail to detect the illness symptoms in turtles. As a result, the turtles died suddenly because of prolonged diseases. Therefore, you should look for anything abnormal going on with the terrapins. For example,

  • Weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Obesity
  • Runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Lethargy
  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble walking
  • Frequent basking
  • Long sleep, etc.

Consult a vet immediately if you notice anything abnormal in the turtle.

4 Factors That Influence Wild Diamondback Terrapin Lifespan

If you look at other turtle species, the wild turtles live less than the captive ones. Of course, the lack of care, exposure to wildlife dangers, emergency medical care, etc., are to blame here. But in some cases, the natural environment helps the turtles thrive and live longer.

There are limited resources available on diamondback terrapin’s life. Therefore, we can not say for sure whether this species lives longer in the wild or not. But we can point out the factors that influence their lifespan. Such factors are,

1. Availability Of Food

Diamondback terrapins are carnivrores. So, they totally live on their hunting skills in the wild.

The diet of the diamondback terrapins includes snails, shrimps, clams, mussels, small fishes, etc. These turtles prey while in the water.

Unfortunately, they do not get lucky in hunting every day. Hence, some days, they have to live without food. This is the reason why diamondback terrapins are opportunistic eaters.

We all know the significance of regular eating in diamondback terrapins. However, as these turtles do not get to eat every day and sometimes end up overeating, you can not expect them to be in the best shape.

The lack of proper nutrition and eating makes the wild diamondback terrapins weak and exposed to diseases. This vulnerable immunity of these turtles impacts their longevity.

2. Harsh Weather

Diamondback terrapins in the wild do not get a well-equipped habitat like pets. It means they are dependent on mother nature. But unfortunately, nature is not always favorable to them.

During the rainy season, floods sometimes affect the living conditions of these turtles. Though the diamondback terrapins can swim, they definitely can not keep up with the turbulence of the flood and may drown.

Again, other natural disasters like tornadoes or hurricanes also affect the diamondback terrapins.

No other calamities can beat the cold stone winter. The shivering winter is nothing but a curse to the diamondback terrapins.

As you know, the diamondback terrapins are cold-blooded creatures. So, they totally depend on the sun for heat and warmth.

The sun does not radiate as much heat as before in winter. Hence, the lack of warmth affects the lifestyle of terrapins.

The diamondback terrapins slow their metabolism and hibernate to cope with the harsh winter. Such a sleep-like state or hibernation lasts for 3 months or even more. During this period, the turtles do not eat anything.

Hence, when the terrapins come out of this hibernation, they fall sick due to weak immunity. Those diseases can affect the life expectancy of turtles.

3. No Health Care

A pet terrapin has access to premium health care. But the wild turtles are left at the mercy of nature. If these terrapins get injured in a fight or have a severe illness, they will suffer and experience premature death.

4. Predators

Predators are the main enemy of diamondback terrapins in the wild. Their medium size makes them vulnerable to the other bigger animals in the ecosystem. So, these turtles often get attacked by dogs, foxes, eagles, etc.

Not only that. The terrapin eggs are also not safe. The raccoons, coyotes, crows, and ants often invade the diamondback terrapin’s nest.

Such predatorial attack not only discounts the survival chance of the diamondback terrapins but also affects their lifespan.


A diamondback terrapin lives up to 40 years. With proper attention, this species can surely exceed this lifespan range. As an owner, you are responsible for providing the pets with quality care to ensure a long life expectancy.

About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. TheTurtleHub.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.