DEEP: Common Musk Turtle

Common Musk Turtle

(Sternotherus odoratus)

{Common Musk Turtle}

IDENTIFICATION: A small, dark colored turtle readily distinguished by its oblong, highly-domed brown to black carapace, greatly reduced plastron, small thick tail, and its large head with a pair of yellow lines running down each side, above and below the eye. When captured it often emits a strong odor. Adult carapace length 70-130 mm.

The common musk turtle is a riverine species, widely distributed in the rivers, streams and impoundments of the low-lying areas of Connecticut. There are no records of this species from above 900 feet in Connecticut (Klemens, 1993). This small, highly aquatic turtle is quite secretive, and even experienced naturalists overlook its presence in many areas, although animals are often taken on hooks by fisherman. It is presently secure in Connecticut, reaching very high densities in areas where rivers have been impounded, especially in reservoirs. The creation of the extensive reservoir systems in Connecticut over the last century has undoubtedly increased the available habitat for this species in the state.

Turtles | Amphibians and Reptiles in Connecticut