ANIMAL: Common Musk Turtle/Eastern Musk Turtle/Stinkpot Sternotherus odoratus Type of Animal: Turtle Habitat: Shallow slow-moving/still bodies of water w/ soft muddy bottoms & aquatic vegetation-rivers, streams, reservoirs associated w/ river systems, impoundments, muddy waters, lakes, ponds, wetlands, littoral zones, lily-pad areas, swamps, ditches, marshes, backwaters, sloughs, shallow areas around shorelines, forests near wetlands, coastal plains Location(s): SE Canada, E & Midwest US & S through C Texas Appearance: Black, grey, or brown w/ highly domed shell, long neck, short legs, males have longer thicker tails, both sexes have 2 distinct stripes on head, heavily webbed/clawed feet, male has larger head Food/Diet: Worms, crustaceans, fish, snails, insects, mice, young birds, frogs, insect larvae, aquatic larvae, leeches, mussels, carrion, aquatic plants, algae, millipedes, clams, seeds/seed pods, fish eggs Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquariums, zoos, & herpetoculture Lifestyle: Solitary, though females can sometimes be seen in trios Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Hatchling Group: Bale Weight: Male: 5.7 oz Female: 5.23-5.24 oz Young: 2 oz Gestation: 3 months Life Span: 30-50 years Body Length: Male: 2.92-4 in Female: 2.85-3.82 in Young: 2 in Tail Length: Male: 0.88 in Female: 0.5 in Main predators are raccoons, skunks, foxes, large wading birds, large predatory fish, bullfrogs, snapping turtles, otters, crocodilians, snakes, raptors, wolves, coyotes, pigs, bobcats, & bears. Usually breed in spring & fall. Usually mate in water, w/ male biting female. Males sexually mature at 2 years, females at 4 years. Females can breed up to 4 times a year w/ 1-9 eggs per clutch. Active at night (nocturnal). Hibernate beneath mud/logs in cooler temps. Tiny tongues covered in bud-like papillae allowing them to respire underwater. Eggs usually elliptical-shaped & hard-shelled. Incubation temp determines sex-temps below 77 being males/temps above 82.4 being females-in between 77 & 82.4 creates mix of sexes. Fun Fact(s): Walk on bottom rather than swim. Algae often grow on carapaces (upper shells). Though rather defensive, often kept as pets due to ease of care & small size. Though mostly aquatic, they’ve been known to climb trees overhanging water areas as high as 6 ft above surface & can drop down. They’ve even dropped into boats before. Gets name cause it releases stinky musky odor to scare away enemies. Can also bite/scratch & has rather defensive temperament. Neck can also extend as far as hind feet.