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Mud Turtles

Mud turtles are small semi-terrestrial turtles, and make excellent pets.  Like many other turtles, mud turtles are omnivorous,  and prefer damp, sandy, or muddy dwellings as their name suggests.  Common mud turtles rarely grow to sizes beyond 5 inches, and are therefore easy to keep indoors, or outdoors.  Like most other turtles and reptiles, mud turtles love to bask in the sun's rays 

Mud turtles usually breed between March and May, and they can live to be over 50 years old, providing they can steer clear of predators.  Mud and their close relatives the musk turtles (also known as stinkpots), can secrete a foul smelling fluid from their anal scent glands.  Mud turtles raised in captivity may never even use this defense mechanism, as it is only used as a last resort against predators in the wild.

Male mud turtles are generally larger than the female of the species, and have larger heads and thicker tails.

Mud turtles are omnivorous, but in general they prefer to eat insects, tadpoles, and fish.  Special turtle food will also do in captivity.  As it is with other pet turtles, a large tank is recommended, and you must provide a sizeable dry land area so the turtle can rest, and enough clean (not muddy) water for it to be able to enjoy an refreshing swim.  Because of their smaller size, mud turtles are easier to accommodate indoors; however, if you decide to set up your mud turtle's habitat outside the house, bear in mind that they, like the box turtle, like to hibernate.  For this, the pen should have a sheltered and muddy area, as mud turtles will generally dig deep in the mud to hide during the winter months. 

All photos on, and linked to from this page: Copyright 2002 John White



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Last modified: December 19, 2004