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Team Sport of Maryland
Maryland State Reptile
The Diamondback Terrapin ( Malaclemys terrapin ) is the State reptile and official mascot of the University of Maryland College Park. It was named the State Reptile in 1994. This attractive turtle has diamond-shaped, concentric rings on its upper shell. Their shell coloring can vary from browns to greys, and their body color can be grey, brown, yellow, or white. All have a unique pattern of wiggly, black markings or spots on their body and head.
The word "terrapin" is an Algonquin word for edible turtles that live in brackish water. Chesapeake colonists ate terrapin prepared Native-American fashion, roasted whole in live coals. Abundant and easy to catch, terrapin were so ample that landowners often fed their slaves and indentured servants a staple diet of terrapin meat. Later, in the 19th century, the turtle was appreciated as gourmet food, especially in a stew laced with cream and sherry. Subsequently, tremendous retail demand and heavy fishing of the terrapin nearly depleted its supply, and protective laws were enacted.
The diamondback terrapin is the official mascot of the University of Maryland, College Park.
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