Mud Turtle

Kinosternon subrubrum

Description

3" to 4 7/8 ". Elongated oval carapace, smooth and slightly arched, olive to dark brown to near black. No enlarged marginal scutes. Yellow brown plastron, may have dark markings. Plastron considerably larger than that of musk turtles. Two hinges in plastron with 11 scutes. Plastron notched in rear in the male. Notch is absent or reduced in female. Two light yellow stripes on each side of head of hippocrepis. Skin areas dark olive to almost black. Barbels on chin and underside of neck. Male has relatively long tail, ends in spine, rear legs have rough scale patches on inner surface.

Habitat

Shallow, soft bottomed, slow moving water with abundant aquatic plants. Bayous, swamps, lagoons, ditches, small ponds. Tolerates brackish water.

Behavior

Primarily aquatic, bottom dwelling. On land after rains, early morning, for nesting. Basks in shallow water with carapace exposed. When bothered, excretes smelly substance from musk glands located on the sides, where skin meets the underside of carapace. Often seen on roads. Some are feisty and do not hesitate to bite.

Reproduction

Matures in 5 - 7 years. Breeding mid-March to May. Lays 1 to 6 oval 1 inch long hard shelled pinkish or bluish-white eggs, usually in June. Lays in 3 - 5 " nest in sandy soil or vegetative debris. May produce several clutches.

Food

Worms, crickets, snails, slugs, fish, beetles, tadpoles, insect larvae, carrion. Has been known to eat out of water.

Contributors

Copyright (c) 2004 Gulf Coast Turtle and Tortoise Society Permission is granted to copy for non-profit use with proper credit given. For any other use you must obtain permission.

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