We studied Diamondback Terrapins, Malaclemys terrapin, at Gateway National Recreation Area, New York. We found evidence of nesting terrapins at three locations within the Recreation Area and focused our research on the islands of Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. Female terrapins nested from early June through early August and oviposited at least two clutches per year. Mean clutch size was 10.9 eggs. Nesting activity increased with daily high temperature and high tide. The greatest number of terrapin nests was found in shrubland, dune, and mixed-grassland habitats, but nest densities were higher on a human-made sandy trail and on sandy beaches. We estimate that approximately 2053 nests were oviposited on the largest island in the refuge in 1999. In 1998 and 1999, we counted 1319 and 1840 depredated nests, respectively, throughout the refuge. Raccoons were introduced into Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge approximately 20 yr prior to this study. Raccoons depredated 92.2% of nests monitored on the largest island during the 1999 nesting season. We also found the carcasses of adult female terrapins that apparently were killed by raccoons as they came on land to nest. This terrapin population may be undergoing demographic changes as a result of the introduction of raccoons.
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