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Common Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus


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Common Musk Turtle
credit: Dawson

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Alternate name: Stinkpot

Family: Kinosternidae, Musk and Mud Turtles view all from this family

Description 2 stripes on head, short tail. Smooth caprice with 3 unserrated keels. Dark streaks/spots on keels of Juveniles. Small plastron with a hinge and 11 scutes. Males have a blunt horn on end of tail, scales on inner hind legs.

Dimensions 7.6-13.7cm. (3-5 3/8")

Warning When picked up, Common Musk Turtles often secrete a malodorous musk. Males are aggressive and bite readily.

Breeding February-June. Underwater. 1-9 thick-shelled eggs. Nest built under a rotting log. Hatches after 9-12 week.

Habitat Freshwater. Slow-moving shallow water.

Range Ontario through Maine, Florida, Texas and Wisconsin

Discussion Releases foul musky odor to avoid predation. Has a long neck, jaw can stretch to hind legs. Mostly aquatic, rarely leave water, except to bask in the sun on trees occasionally. Lives up to 55 years in captivity.