Scientific Name: Kinosternon odoratus
The moderately small Musk Turtle's carapace rarely exceeds 4.5 inches in length. Their dark olive upper shell, or carapace, is unmarked and domed. The carapace may flatten as the turtle matures. Musk Turtles sometimes have a pair of pale colored lines on either side of the head. The male Musk Turtle is usually larger than the female, and has a longer, broader tail. They have two musk glands between the upper and lower shells.
In captivity the musk turtle will feed on small feeder fish, worms and various insects. It has been reported that they will even take food from your hand if you offer it to them. They are not terribly active during the day, and will often sit still and wait for their prey - then attack.
Female Musk Turtles are generally mature between the ages of 9 and 11, while males are ready to breed at as little as 4 years of age. They mate in the spring after hibernation, although they can also mate in the fall and not ovulate until spring. They usually lay eggs several weeks after mating in a clutch of between 2 and 5 eggs. Populations of Musk Turtles may mate communally. The eggs usually hatch in the late summer or early fall.
Found in areas of slow moving water with soft bottoms, such as marshes, ponds, and ditches
The Musk Turtle is also known as the Stinkpot Turtle. They are small, aggressive turtles that are found in North America. Musk Turtles are rarely kept in captivity.
Musk Turtles can usually be found in areas of slow moving water with soft bottoms, such as marshes, ponds, and ditches. They are nocturnal animals and rarely venture out during daylight hours. They are never seen during the day during the hot summers. Stinkpots hibernate for most of the winter, beginning in October and only becoming active again in April. During hibernation and in hot weather during the day, they sleep among the vegetation found in the water or burrow into the mud. They are rarely seen outside the water, possibly because they dehydrate very quickly. Juvenile Musk Turtles are mainly carnivorous, although adults will eat plants as well. Some preferred foods are fish, snails, tadpoles, crayfish, and insects. They locate prey using their sense of smell, and most likely feed on animals that are already dead. Stinkpots do not swim or move very quickly and are most likely not able to capture living prey. When captured, Musk Turtles release a very strong musk, which is where they get their names. They can be very aggressive when restrained and will bite.
Midwest United States
Musk Turtles can be found throughout the Midwest and as far south as Northern Florida. They are common along the Mississippi River and have been found in Wisconsin and in the Wisconsin River. Musk Turtles are rarely kept in captivity because of their aggressive natures and the foul smell they exude when frightened.
Juvenile Musk Turtles are mainly carnivorous, although adults will eat plants as well. Some preferred foods are fish, snails, tadpoles, crayfish, and insects.