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Turtles of New Jersey

By Brian Zarate, Senior Zoologist and
Nicole Gerard, Seasonal Staff

New Jersey is home to 13 species of freshwater and brackish-water turtles which includes two non-native species introduced to our waters over several decades. In addition to the turtles described below, there are other non-native species that can be found from time to time. Turtles are typically active from March through November and nest on land between mid-May and early July.

Throughout the state our turtles inhabit a variety of aquatic and wetland environments frequented and enjoyed by anglers. Major threats to the health of our turtle populations are loss of habitat, road mortality, and illegal collection. There are no turtle species in the state that can be taken from the wild as pets and it is illegal to release captive or pet turtles into the wild.

New Jersey has four turtle species with a conservation status of Endangered, Threatened or Special Concern and we’d encourage you to submit your sightings of these most imperiled turtles to New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife using the form found here:


Regulations in red are new this year.

Purple text indicates an important note.

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