Turtles in Big Bend National Park

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.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129


(432) 477-2251

Contact Us