Chicken turtle (Deirochelys reticularia)
Our chicken turtle, Moe, was born in 1986 and came to our Zoo in 1988.
Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Unlisted. Throughout their ranges, chicken turtle populations are currently stable. They do face probable threats due to habitat destruction. These turtles are sometimes killed as they wander across highways or are hunted for food.
It only likes still water, such as large ditches, ponds and small lakes. These should have logs, rocks or other places where it can bask. This turtle lives along the Coastal Plain of the southeast of the United States from Virginia to Texas and north to Oklahoma and Arkansas.
The young are carnivorous (meat-eating) but adults gradually add some vegetation to their diet. They typically feed on fish, snails, worms, tadpoles, frogs, aquatic insects and crayfish.
- These turtles look similar to the Eastern painted turtle but have an unusually long, striped neck.
- They hibernate in the soft mud during the winter and come out in the spring.
- Commonly found in cuisine, these turtles are said to "taste like chicken".
- The gender of the eggs that hatch depends on the surrounding temperature.