noun \ˈter-ə-pən\

: a kind of small turtle that lives in water

Full Definition of TERRAPIN

:  any of various aquatic turtles (family Emydidae); especially :  diamondback terrapin

Illustration of TERRAPIN

Origin of TERRAPIN

alteration of earlier torope, from Virginia Algonquian *to·rəpe·w
First Known Use: 1613


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Red-eared turtle (Pseudemys scripta elegans).—Leonard Lee Rue III

Any omnivorous aquatic turtle of the family Emydidae, especially the diamondback terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin). The diamondback inhabits salt marshes and coasts from New England to the Gulf of Mexico. It has raised diamond-shaped patterns on its brownish or black upper shell. The female attains a shell length of about 9 in. (23 cm); the male grows to about 6 in. (14 cm). The eight species of the turtle genus Pseudemys (or Chrysemys) are sometimes referred to as terrapins. They inhabit freshwaters from the northeastern U.S. to Argentina. The female's shell is 6–16 in. (15–40 cm) long. Infant red-eared turtles (P. scripta elegans) are sold in pet shops.


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