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American Mud and Musk Turtles: Kinosternidae

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Stinkpot (sternotherus Odoratus): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, AMERICAN MUD AND MUSK TURTLES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS

STINKPOT (Sternotherus odoratus): SPECIES ACCOUNT

Members of the American mud and musk turtle family live in North and South America.

American mud and musk turtles are freshwater species. Most live in still or slow-moving waters and prefer lakes and ponds that are filled with water all year long. A few make their homes in shallow, seasonal ponds, which have water only a few months a year, usually during the spring season. American mud and musk turtles are found mainly in eastern and southern North America and as far south as Argentina in South America.

American mud and musk turtles are mainly meat eaters. They eat snails, clams, insects, worms, leeches, and sometimes freshly killed fishes they come across. Turtles that have large heads typically prefer snails and clams, which the turtle can easily open with its massive jaws. Turtles in seasonal ponds may also eat a large number of seeds.

Other than once in a while collecting a turtle for the pet trade or for its meat value, people generally leave mud and musk turtles alone.

Most species of American mud and musk turtles are quite common in their habitats, but according to the World Conservation Union (IUCN), four species are Vulnerable, which means they face a high risk of extinction in the wild. Three of the four live in very small areas, and the fourth lives in a disappearing habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists one species, the flattened musk turtle, as Threatened, or likely to become endangered in the near future.

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Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other Reptiles