The diamondback terrapin is an important component of Jekyll Island’s marsh community. This unique species is the only North American turtle that lives exclusively in brackish (mix of fresh and salt) water. Terrapins have long been a part of the natural and cultural history of this region, but now face increased threats due to human activities.
Over a hundred female terrapins are hit by vehicles on the Jekyll Island Causeway each summer as they cross the road in search of good nesting habitat. Such high road mortality likely threatens the local terrapin population. However, the GSTC and its conservation partners are working to improve the situation. Efforts include installing signage to inform motorists of terrapins, removing nesting females from the road, rehabilitating injured individuals, incubating eggs of deceased females, installing predator-proof nest boxes, and conducting research to better address the issue.
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