Common Musk Turtle/Eastern Musk Turtle/Stinkpot

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.

1 thought on “Common Musk Turtle/Eastern Musk Turtle/Stinkpot

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