Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) - Ohio Herp Atlas

Eastern Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus

Musk turtles, also known as “stinkpots,” seem to prefer deep, still water in lakes, ponds, and sluggish streams with muddy bottoms and an abundance of plant life. Their most distinctive marks of identification are the two-bright yellow stripes on each side of the head. These turtles get their name from the foul odor they expel when first caught or teased. This odor comes from a yellowish fluid secreted by two gland openings on either side of the carapace (the upper shell). Like snapping turtles, musk turtles are strongly aquatic and are seldom observed out of water except to lay eggs, or occasionally during early spring to bask in the sun. Unlike most turtles, the female musk turtle is not particular about where she lays her eggs. She may place them on a rotted stump, in a muskrat house, or just about anywhere else above or below ground, as long as water is nearby. LENGTH: 2” – 4”

Text courtesy of the Ohio Division of Wildlife: https://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/portals/wildlife/pdfs/publications/id%20guides/pub354_Reptiles-opt.pdf

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
Photographs