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Terrific turtles of the Lowcountry

A handy guide for identifying and learning about the species living here.

Story by Michaela Satterfield

Turtles are found in a wide variety of habitats across the Lowcountry. Take a closer look at the fascinating reptiles that live here and learn what makes each species unique.


Sea Turtles


Snapping Turtles


Basking Turtles


Softshell Turtles

Local history: Gopher Hill

Ridgeland was originally known as Gopher Hill, derived from the gopher tortoise, which is indigenous to the area. The name was not considered good enough for a new railroad station, so it was changed to Ridgeland in 1902 for the fact that the town stands on a sandy ridge that is some of the highest land in Jasper County. According to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, these terrestrial tortoises are only found in the sand hills and coastal plains of three South Carolina counties — Jasper, Hampton and Aiken. Currently, the state lists them as endangered and critically imperiled.


Mud & Musk Turtles