Sunday, August 23, 2009

Musk Turtle

Musk Turtle (Stinkpot)
(Sternotherus odoratus)
     The stinkpot turtle, or musk turtle, as some of us might know it as, is a small cute turtle. Cute enough that you might go after it to grab and keep as a pet. However, there is a little secret that you might not know about this fascinating creature at first glance. The scientific name for this gorgeous turtle is Sternotherus Oderatus. This name was given to the turtle by a gentleman that went by the name of John Edward Gray in 1825. 
     The Stinkpot usually grows from 3-6 inches. On average they will grow to 4 inches. This turtle has stripes that run across it’s snout. These stripes are yellowish in color. The stinkpot turtle mainly got it’s nick name because of a foul musky odor, that it releases when it feels that it’s in danger. This defense mechanism comes from glands that the stinkpot turtle has under it’s carapace or shell. 
     The Stinkpot usually lives in slow moving water, however they are good swimmers and won't mind deeper waters. They can be found anywhere from all the way up north, in Canada, to the northern, southern and western parts of the United States.
      This reptile feeds on small fish and or insects that hang out in shallow waters, as well as plants, categorizing this small fellow as an omnivorous. However, the younger ones prefer to be more on the carnivorous side and rather feed on animals such as snails, Cray fish, and insects among others. They also feed on algae and plants like the adult Stinkpot does. 
     The new members of the family come in late summer or fall. The stink pot turtle lays anywhere between 2-9 eggs in a small burrow by the slow moving water. Their eggs are hard shell eggs that hold the turtles that are less then 1 inch in length for about 6 months.


  1. Thanks for the comment - I think the one you found is a tiny bit bigger and the shell is darker than the one you found. Have you seen them walking on the bottom of the river?

    Now I know where to come for my Turtle News! You might also like the TurtleMetalSmith site - a jeweler that works in turtles...

    I'll add a follow to your site.

  2. On the perfect day I can see the bottom of a river near my house if the lighting is just right. I haven't yet seen a Stinkpot there but I sure did see a snapping turtle that must of weighed 50 pounds lurking on the bottom. I do see Stinkpots all the time walking on the bottom at a nearby lake. If I see a unusual one I will catch it and take pictures but usually I just watch. Surprisingly when I go to New Jersey and i'm crabbing along the shore a few stinkpots will turn up in the net.

    The turtle smith is awsome. I want it all!