Eastern Musk Turtle
Also known as the stinkpot turtle.
- Small turtle, adult body length of 7 to 13 cm. (3 to 5 in.)
- Domed carapace (portion of shell covering back) is brown in colour, with black flecks. The plastron (lower shell) is quite small and black and yellow in colour.
- Two yellow stripes along each side of its head and barbels (whisker-like) on chin and throat.
- Aquatic insects and invertebrates, aquatic plants and carrion.
Habits and Reproduction
- Hibernation, under mud or logs, lasts from late October to April.
- If handled, the stinkpot turtle lives up to its name by releasing a musky smelling substance from under its carapace.
- Mating occurs from April to May, and possibly a second time in the fall.
- From late May to early July, clutches of 2-5 brittle eggs are laid in a hole dug in sandy soil, or beneath ground cover. Typically muskrat houses are used by the females for nesting sites.
- Males mature after 3 or 4 years, however females may not mature until they are 7 or older.
- May live to the age of 50.
- A variety of wetlands, including ponds, rivers, marshes and lakes.
- Usually prefer a sand or gravel bottom.
- Rarely venture from the water even to bask.
- The main factor in their decline is the draining of wetlands and shoreline development.
- If you own waterfront property, you can help many wildlife species by keeping the shoreline in a natural state. The Muskoka Watershed Council has resource materials available to waterfront property owners.
- Read the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre’s guide to Turtle Nests and Nest Protection.
- Find an injured turtle? Please see the information on the Ontario Turtle Conservation Centre’s website.