Eastern Musk Turtle (Stinkpot; Common Musk Turtle)

Eastern Musk Turtle (Stinkpot)

Sternotherus odoratus

This is Missouri’s smallest species and one of the world’s smallest turtles. The stinkpot is a dark-colored turtle with a domed upper shell and reduced lower shell. General coloration is black or dark brown; the lower shell is yellow with some brown mottling. There are normally two thin, yellow stripes on each side of the head and neck.

The name “stinkpot” refers to the odor given off by this species when captured. The odor is produced by musk glands in the skin just below the upper shell along the sides.

Adult stinkpots range in upper shell length from 2 to 4 ½ inches.
Habitat and conservation: 
This species may be found in a variety of aquatic habitats: streams, rivers, sloughs, swamps and large lakes. In Missouri, it is most abundant in Ozark rivers.
A variety of small aquatic animals are eaten by this small reptile.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Occurs throughout most of Missouri except for the northwestern third of the state.
Formerly called the common musk turtle.
Shortened URL