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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Razorback Musk Turtle (Sternotherus carinatus)




Razorback Musk Turtle | Sternotherus carinatus photo
Razorback Musk Turtle

Photograph by Ltshears. License: Public Domain.  (view image details)

Razorback Musk Turtle | Sternotherus carinatus photo
Razorback Musk Turtle

Photograph by LA Dawson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

RAZORBACK MUSK TURTLE FACTS

Description
The Razorback Musk Turtle has a brown carapace with black markings at the edges of the scutes. The shell has a sharp keel down the center giving the species its common name. The skin is grey-brown with black spotting. The head is bulbous with a sharp beak. They have a long neck and short legs. Males have a longer tail than females. They have scent glands under the rear of their shell, which can release a foul musky odor to deter predators. Wild turtles will bite if harassed, but they are not fast-moving. Musk turtles spent most of their time in shallow, heavily vegetated water. They only come onto land for nesting.

Size
carapace length 15cm

Environment
rivers, streams, swamps. Prefers slow moving water with soft bottom, abundant aquatic vegetation, and suitable basking sites.

Food
Razorback Musk Turtles are carnivorous. They eat aquatic invertebrates, including crayfish, freshwater clams, snails, insects. They also eat fish and carrion.

Breeding
Nesting is thought to occur from April through June. Females lay at least two clutches of 2 - 4 white, elliptical, brittle-shelled eggs each year. Hatchlings emerge in August and September, and are 23mm - 31mm when they hatch.

Range
The Razorback Musk Turtle is found in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Louisiana.

Notes
The Razorback Musk Turtle is often kept in captivity, and is regularly captive bred. It is fairly small and relatively easy to care for, making it an attractive choice as a pet turtle.

Classification
Class:Reptilia
Order:Testudines
Family:Kinosternidae
Genus:Sternotherus
Species:carinatus
Common Name:Razorback Musk Turtle


Relatives in same Genus
  Flattened Musk Turtle (S. depressus)
  Common Musk Turtle (S. odoratus)