Musk Turtle

Musk Turtle

Sternothaerus odoratus

aka. Stinkpot

Musk Turtle Profile, Musk Turtle Carapace
Musk Turtle

Identifying Characteristics

Look for a turtle basking with a pointed nose sticking up in the air.  Musk turtles are 3-5.5″ in size. The head is slate colored to black with 2 white to pale yellow stripes.  Musk turtles have a high-domed slate to brownish carapace with sizable scutes.  They have a very small tail.  Musk turtles have 11 plates on their plastrons.

What’s in a Name?

A musk turtle by any other name would still smell as foul.  They have musk glands under their carapace that secretes the smelly yellow fluid.


In New England, you can find them in Massachusetts and Connecticut.  This one was found near Boston in Concord River.


You’ll find them basking in the sun on any natural objects that stick out of their freshwater environment.  Look for them in rivers and ponds.


Musk turtles may bite if handled.  The spend their time basking in the sun to raise their body temperature, or the search the muddy bottom of their aquatic habitat for small animals to feed on.


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Biodiversity Exposed