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 CA Endemic
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  (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
Chelydridae Snapping Turtles Gray, 1870    
Chelydra Snapping Turtles Schweigger, 1812    
Chelydra serpentina Snapping Turtle Schweigger, 1812 Common Snapping Turtle  
  Chelydra serpentina serpentina  (Alien Species) Eastern Snapping Turtle (Linnaeus, 1758)    
Emydidae Box and Basking Turtles Gray, 1825    
Chrysemys Painted Turtles Gray, 1844    
Chrysemys picta Painted Turtle (Schneider, 1783)    
  Chrysemys picta bellii  (Alien Species) Western Painted Turtle (Gray, 1831)    
Trachemys Sliders Agassiz, 1857    
Trachemys scripta Pond Slider (Schoepff, 1792)    
  Trachemys scripta elegans  (Alien Species) 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  (Alien Species) Texas Spiny Softshell (Agassiz, 1857)    

Common Name        
Native Freshwater and Land Turtles        
Pacific Pond Turtle        
Sonora Mud Turtle   (Extinct in CA)        
Desert Tortoise        
Sea Turtles        
Green Seaturtle        
Leatherback Seaturtle        
Loggerhead Seaturtle        
Olive Ridley Seaturtle        
Pacific Hawksbill Seaturtle        
Alien Species        
Eastern Snapping Turtle   (Alien Species)        
Red-eared Slider   (Alien Species)        
Texas Spiny Softshell   (Alien Species)        
Western Painted Turtle   (Alien Species)        

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