Turtles in South Carolina

South Carolina has three environments: mountains, hills, and coastal plains. The last one is notable, as several saltwater turtles can be seen off the state’s coasts. There are also several freshwater turtles, like the Alligator Snapping Turtle, the Eastern Painted Turtle, and the Florida Cooter.

Turtles in South Carolina (SC)

Types of Turtles Found in South Carolina

Sea Turtles (Cheloniidae)

Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae)

  • Common Snapping Turtle
  • Alligator Snapping Turtle

Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelyidae)

  • Leatherback Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys)

  • Hawksbill Turtle

Emydid Turtles (Emydidae)

Painted Turtles

  • Eastern Painted Turtle

Chicken Turtles

  • Chicken Turtle

Map Turtles

  • Northern Map Turtle
  • False Map Turtle 


  • Florida Cooter
  • Eastern River Cooter

Box Turtles

Glyptemys Turtles

  • Bog Turtle


  • Yellow-bellied Slider
  • Pond Slider

Mud and Musk Turtles (Kinosternidae)

Softshell Turtles (Trionychidae)

  • Florida Softshell 
  • Smooth Softshell
  • Spiny Softshell

Tortoises (Testudinidae)


Are there any endangered turtles in South Carolina?

Not only are all the sea turtles that visit South Carolina endangered, but certain freshwater species, like the Florida Softshell and the Bog Turtle, are also at risk.

Where to see sea turtles in South Carolina? 

Some places to see sea turtles in South Carolina include Edisto Beach State Park, Huntington Beach, and Hunting Island.

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