Common Musk (Stinkpot)
Kinosternon is a genus of aquatic turtles known commonly as mud turtles. They are found in the United States, Mexico, Central America, and South America. They are very similar to the Musk Turtles, but generally smaller in size, and their carapaces are not as highly domed. Musks (also known as stinkpots) and Muds can secrete a foul smelling fluid from their anal scent glands. Mud turtles raised in captivity may never even use this defense mechanism, as it is only used as a last resort against predators in the wild.
Mud turtles are often kept as pets. They are similar in their care to other aquatic turtles but unlike the Painteds, Sliders, Maps and Terrapins, they are semi-terrestrial. Musk turtles however, are almost entirely aquatic, spending the vast majority of their time in shallow, heavily vegetated waters of slow moving creeks, or in ponds. They typically only venture onto land when the female lays her eggs, or in some cases, to bask.
Mud turtles have a hinged plastron (lower shell) similar to that of a box turtle, but cannot close up like a box turtle. Musk turtles have a smaller plastron with no hinge or less obvious hinge.
One of the reasons why mud turtles are so popular as pets is because of their small size. Rarely growing to be over five inches long, mud turtles are small and compact aquatic turtles.
Depending on the Musk, they can handle deeper waters then the Mud. Musks get about 1 to 2 inches bigger then the Mud Turtle but its still small considering other turtles out there. Mud turtles have a much better developed plastron than the Musk turtle, for better protection. However, this means decreased mobility. It also means they are safer on land at the expense of being very poor swimmers and cannot be in too deep water whereas stinkpots (common musk turtles) and other musk turtles do fine in deep tanks if there are plants or driftwood for them to climb up for air.
To read more about or purchase a Mud or a Musk Turtle, click on one of the turtles below
Mississippi Mud Turtle
3 Stripe Mud Turtle
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Red Cheek Mud Turtle
Razorback Musk Turtle