Turtles in Texas

Texas has diverse habitats, including coastal marshes, deserts, and swamps. This allows freshwater and saltwater turtles to live here, like the Green Sea Turtle, the Western Painted Turtle, and the Texas Tortoise.

Turtles in Texas (TX)

Types of Turtles Found in Texas

Sea Turtles (Cheloniidae)

Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae)

Leatherback Sea Turtles (Dermochelyidae)

  • Leatherback Sea Turtle

Hawksbill Turtles (Eretmochelys)

  • Hawksbill Turtle

Emydid Turtles (Emydidae)

Painted Turtles

  • Southern Painted Turtle
  • Western Painted Turtle

Chicken Turtles

  • Western Chicken Turtle

Map Turtles

  • Ouachita Map Turtle
  • Cagle’s Map Turtle
  • False Map Turtle
  • Mississippi Map Turtle
  • Sabine Map Turtle
  • Texas Map Turtle


  • Texas Diamond-backed Terrapin


  • Missouri River Cooter
  • Rio Grande Cooter
  • Texas River Cooter

Box Turtles


  • Red-eared Slider
  • Big Bend Slider

Mud and Musk Turtles (Kinosternidae)

  • Eastern Mud Turtle
  • Razor-backed Musk Turtle 
  • Eastern Musk Turtle (Stinkpot)
  • Big Bend Mud Turtle
  • Rough-footed Mud Turtle
  • Yellow Mud Turtle

Softshell Turtles (Trionychidae)

  • Midland Smooth Softshell
  • Guadalupe Spiny Softshell
  • Pallid Spiny Softshell
  • Texas Spiny Softshell

Tortoises (Testudinidae)

  • Texas Tortoise


Are there any endangered turtles in Texas?

Several freshwater turtles, including the Alligator Snapping Turtle, the Big Bend Slider, and the Cagle’s Map Turtle, and all the sea turtles are at risk.

Where to see sea turtles in Texas?  

Padre Island is the only spot where all five saltwater turtles visit. Other notable areas include San José Island, Galveston Island, and Mustang Island.

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