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Description: Common Musk Turtle

Common Musk Turtle

Common Musk Turtle

Wheeh! Does something stink? Well you just might have made a Musk Turtle mad! All musk turtles have 2 pairs of musk glands beneath the border of the carapace. The secretions are so strong that they have come to be known as a “stinkpot” or “stinking jim”.

Common Musk Turtles are found in southern Ontario and coastal Maine to Florida, and west to central Texas, and up north to southern Wisconson. Adult common Musk Turtles have been known to grow upto as much as 5-6 5/8″ (12.7-17 cm).

Physical Appearance:
Common Musk Turtles are general detected by the 2 light stripes that run from their head to their chin and down to the throat. The carapace color usually runs from an olive-brown to a dark gray. Because it spends extended periods underwater, the common musk often has a rich growth of algae and many leeches on its shell (the leeches generally present themselves in the wild).

The most prominent behavior of the common Musk Turtle is its defensive tactic. When disturbed, this turtle will quickly release a foul-smelling liquid from its musk glands. Also, the male is particularly aggressive and will not think twice about biting

Being typically noctorunal, the common Musk is generally inactive in daylight hours, remaining buried in the mud or resting on the bottom. Basking is not a favorite habit of this turtle, as it is rarely found out of water. Most basking occurs while the turtle rests in shallow water with only the top of its carapace exposed to the sunlight. It may, however, climb onto the river bank or onto fallen trees to bask. Older turtles drop into the water when disturbed but younger ones hold on with such a grip that it is sometimes difficult to remove them.

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