• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Turtles in Big Bend

Juvenile Turtle
Juvenile Turtle
NPS Photo/Cookie Ballou


There are only a few wet places in the park where turtles are found. Though, through the rainy season, it is possible to find one in desert areas wandering between wet spots. In the Rio Grande, the most common species observed is the Big Bend slider. This is a subspecies of the well-known Red-eared slider.

Also found along the river is the spiny softshell turtle, the yellow mud turtle, and in very small numbers, a new species found in 2005, the Rio Grande river cooter.

Though the Texas tortoise is on the park's checklist they are not found regularly enough in Big Bend to be considered resident.

One species we hope to learn more about in Big Bend is the ornate box turtle. Once they were not considered resident, though a few recent sightings have suggested the opposite.

Did You Know?

At the top of the Lost Mine Trail

Some people who take the Lost Mine trail in Big Bend National Park may be secretly looking for the lost mine, but most take the climb to enjoy the scenery, vegetation, and wildlife. The rocks are mostly lava, but a few dikes of igneous rock filling fissures are seen along the way. More...