Turtles in Arizona

Arizona is known for its deserts, with hot summers and mild winters, especially in the southern part of the state. These conditions support several species of reptiles, but the arid conditions and occasional periods of drought mean that fewer turtles live here compared to other US states. 

Most of the wild turtles in Arizona are aquatic and found in rivers, ponds, and lakes. Some turtles living here include the Sonora Mud Turtle, the Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise, the Sonoran Desert Tortoise, the Common Snapping Turtle, and the Ornate Box Turtle

Turtles in Arizona (AZ)

Types of Turtles Found in Arizona

Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae)

  • Common Snapping Turtle

Emydid Turtles (Emydidae)

Painted Turtles

Box Turtle

  • Ornate Box Turtle


  • Pond Slider

Mud and Musk Turtles (Kinosternidae)

  • Arizona Mud Turtle
  • Sonora Mud Turtle
  • Yellow Mud Turtle

Softshell Turtles (Trionychidae)

  • Spiny Softshell

Tortoises (Testudinidae)

  • Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise
  • Sonoran Desert Tortoise


Are there any endangered turtles in Arizona?

The Agassiz’s Desert Tortoise is classified as “Critically Endangered” or “CR.”

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