California Turtles


A Guide to the Amphibians
and Reptiles of California
Turtles Word Cloud This is a complete llst of Turtles that occur naturally in California, including alien species with well-established populations.

California's turtles are listed here by scientific name and sorted by family, genus, species, and subspecies if applicable.

They are listed by common name below the first list.

Follow the blue links to go to a page with information about each kind of turtle along with pictures of them and their habitat and maybe some videos.

The names used on this list are based mainly on the lists published by the Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles.

Scientific Name
Common Name Original Description Alternate Name
Order Testudines Turtles Linnaeus, 1758 Chelonii
Cheloniidae Sea Turtles Oppel, 1811  
Caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtles Rafinesque, 1814  
Caretta caretta Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Linnaeus, 1758)  
Chelonia Green Sea Turtles Brongniart, 1800  
Chelonia mydas Green Sea Turtle (Linnaeus, 1758)  
Eretmochelys Hawksbill Sea Turtles Fitzinger 1843  
Eretmochelys imbricata Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Linnaeus, 1766)  
  Eretmochelys imbricata bissa Pacific Hawksbill Sea Turtle (Rüppell, 1835)  
Lepidochelys Ridley Sea turtles Fitzinger, 1843  
Lepidochelys olivacea Olive Ridley Sea Turtle (Eschscholtz, 1829)  
Dermochelyidae Leatherback Sea Turtles Fitzinger, 1843  
Dermochelys Leatherback Sea Turtle Blainville, 1816  
Dermochelys coriacea Leatherback Sea Turtle (Vandelli, 1761)  
Emydidae Box and Basking Turtles Gray, 1825  
Actinemys Western Pond Turtles Agassiz, 1857 Clemmys, and Emys
Actinemys marmorata
Northern Western Pond Turtle (Baird and Girard, 1852) Western Pond Turtle - Actinemys marmorata
Actinemys pallida Southern Western Pond Turtle (Seeliger 1945) Western Pond Turtle - Actinemys marmorata
Kinosternidae Mud and Musk Turtles Agassiz, 1857  
Kinosternon American Mud Turtles Spix, 1824  
Kinosternon sonoriense Sonoran Mud Turtle LeConte, 1854  
  Kinosternon sonoriense sonoriense  
(Probably extinct in CA)
Desert Mud Turtle LeConte, 1854 Sonoran Mud Turtle, Sonora Mud Turtle
Testudinidae Tortoises Gray, 1825  
Gopherus Gopher Tortoises Rafinesque, 1832  
Gopherus agassizii Mohave Desert Tortoise (Cooper, 1863) Agassiz's Desert Tortoise
Alien Species  (More information about alien reptiles and amphibians reported in California)
Chelydridae Snapping Turtles Gray, 1870  
Chelydra Snapping Turtles Schweigger, 1812  
Chelydra serpentina  Snapping Turtle (Linnaeus, 1758) Common Snapping Turtle
Emydidae Box and Basking Turtles Gray, 1825  
Chrysemys Painted Turtles Gray, 1844  
Chrysemys picta Painted Turtle (Schneider, 1783)  
  Chrysemys picta bellii Western Painted Turtle (Gray, 1831)  
Trachemys Sliders Agassiz, 1857  
Trachemys scripta Pond Slider (Schoepff, 1792)  
  Trachemys scripta elegans Red-eared Slider (Wied-Neuwied, 1838)  
Trionychidae Softshells Bell, 1828  
Apalone North American Softshells Rafinesque, 1832  
Apalone spinifera Spiny Softshell (LeSueur, 1827)  
  Apalone spinifera emoryi  Texas Spiny Softshell (Agassiz, 1857)  

Common Name      
Native Freshwater and Land Turtles      
Northern Western Pond Turtle      
Southern Western Pond Turtle      
Sonora Mud Turtle  (Probably extinct in CA)      
Desert Tortoise      
Sea Turtles      
Green Seaturtle      
Leatherback Seaturtle      
Loggerhead Seaturtle      
Olive Ridley Seaturtle      
Pacific Hawksbill Seaturtle      
Alien Species (More information about alien reptiles and amphibians reported in California)
Snapping Turtle       
Red-eared Slider      
Texas Spiny Softshell      
Western Painted Turtle      


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