Chicken Turtle (deirochelys reticularia)

February 2022
Written By: 
Grand Strand Magazine Staff
Photographs by: 
Chase D'animulls

Learn about this intriguing turtle found in South Carolina

- Chicken turtles are named after the taste of their meat, which used to be common and popular in Southern markets.

- Female chicken turtles are usually larger than their male counterparts. 

- Chicken turtles survive on a diet of mostly aquatic insects, amphibian larvae and small fish—especially crayfish!

- Chicken turtles have a faster life span than other turtles, with adults living less than 15 years.

- Chicken turtles are sometimes called “American Snake Necks” because of their long, striped necks. 

- Chicken turtles have an unusual egg-laying pattern, preferring to lay their eggs in the winter months.

- Though they prefer aquatic habitats, many chicken turtles will travel onto land and burrow into the soil to escape dry conditions.