How to Draw a Diamondback Terrapin

In this quick tutorial you'll learn how to draw a Diamondback Terrapin in 8 easy steps - great for kids and novice artists.

The images above represent how your finished drawing is going to look and the steps involved.

Below are the individual steps - you can click on each one for a High Resolution printable PDF version.

At the bottom you can read some interesting facts about the Diamondback Terrapin.

Make sure you also check out any of the hundreds of drawing tutorials grouped by category.

How to Draw a Diamondback Terrapin - Step-by-Step Tutorial

Step 1: First draw the head. It almost circle shaped with the bottom slightly narrower than the top.

Step 2: To draw the face draw an upside down curve to make a frowny mouth. The nose is right in the middle of the face and looks like two "V"s attached in the middle. Along the tops of the nose are two round eyes.

Step 3: From the top of the head draw the large shell. It looks like a large squarish pillow. There is more shell on the left side of the head.

Step 4: Draw a curved line under the bottom of the face. It does not meet up with any other lines at the ends. There is another short line coming off the left hand side of the shell.

Step 5: Just to the left of the head start the line to draw the front foot. Draw it down and on an angle to the left. At the end of the leg line draw 5 pointy toes. Draw the other side of the foot up almost to the shell line.

Step 6: On the right side of the head draw the right front foot. It is shorter than the left foot but also has 5 pointy toes.

Step 7: On the far left bottom side of the shell draw the back foot. All you see are the three long pointy toes.

Step 8: Finally, draw the diamond line patterns along the shell. They all connect together. There are smaller squarish patterns along the bottom line of the shell.

Interesting Facts about the Diamondback Terrapin (Malaclemys terrapin):

The Diamondback Terrapin is a species of turtle that lives in the coastal areas of the eastern and southern United States, from the Florida Keys all the way to Cape Cod. The Diamondback Terrapin has grey skin flecked with spots of black, and a hard carapace (shell) with a diamond pattern in varying colors (hence its name). Females grow larger than males, up to 23 centimeters as opposed to 15 centimeters. Females also have stronger jaws and a different diet consisting of hard-shelled creatures like snails and crabs, while the males eater softer items like worms, plant material and some fish.

Did you know?

  • There are seven sub-species of Diamondback Terrapin: Carolina, Texas, Ornate, Mississippi, Mangrove, Eastern Florida and Northern Diamondback Terrapin.
  • Diamondback Terrapins can live in either full-strength ocean water or complete freshwater, but most adults prefer water with a salinity in between fresh and complete saltwater.
  • The skin of the Diamondback Terrapin is resistant to salt and has special salt glands that other turtles lack.
  • One unique adaptation of the Diamondback Terrapin is that it will open its mouth and raise its head to collect raindrops for freshwater drinking.
  • The Diamondback Terrapin is the official state reptile of Maryland (United States).

In the 1900s, the Diamondback Terrapin was hunted almost to extinction because of the popularity of its meat in turtle soup. While its numbers have since recovered, there are still threats to its survival. Coastal development, motorboat motors, and crabbing or lobster nets all post problems for the Diamondback Terrapin, and its numbers are again declining. In Rhode Island, it is even listed as an endangered species. Overall, the IUCN has labled the Diamondback Terrapin a “near-threatened” species.