SOUTH KINGSTOWN – A University of Rhode Island senior has documented evidence of diamondback terrapin turtles, previously thought to live only in the East Bay, breeding in southern Rhode Island, URI announced.
Acting on anecdotal evidence of terrapin sightings, Meghan Beatty spent the summer kayaking the state’s coastal ponds in search of the turtles. So far, she has spotted them in Winnipaug Pond in Westerly.
“It’s very exciting to have found them,” Beatty said in a statement. “But we don’t know where they’ve come from, and we have no idea how long they’ve been there. No one has ever looked for them there, so they could have been there for a long time.”
Part of the URI Coastal Fellows program, the research will continue to determine whether the turtles are still nesting in the area.
Diamondback terrapins had previously only been documented in Barrington and Warren.