"No, I won’t let you make sure my head is symmetrical. Fuck you."

As adorably tiny as he is—less than four inches end to end—our mud turtle gives one hell of a side eye.

Musk turtles & mud turtles: look boring, are secretly hyper-diverse 

by Darren Naish

I give you the following article devoted wholly to kinosternids, an exclusively American group of about 25 species of seemingly mundane and unspectacular turtles. Kinosternidae includes turtles that go by two common names: musk turtles (Sternotherus) and mud turtles (Kinosternon)… though things are a little more complex than this, as we’ll see below. Musk turtles are also sometimes called stinkpots.

As a generalisation, kinosternids are amphibious, carnivorous, often nocturnal, turtles that walk and clamber over the bottoms of streams, rivers, lakes and ponds. Many species spend a lot of time in water but some (like the Common mud turtle K. subrubrum) readily forage on land, and aestivate or hibernate in terrestrial burrows. Insects, snails, worms, crustaceans and fish are all eaten as are carrion, algae, and the seeds and leaves of certain plants.

Lovich et al. (2010) reported cases in which mud turtles ate alligator lizards (Elgaria) and ground snakes (Sonora). Predation of this sort might be rare, but its apparent rarity might – Lovich et al. (2010) suggested – be due to under-observation. Kinosternid clutches are small (1-3 eggs), in keeping with their small size…

(read more: Tetrapod Zoology - Scientific American)

images: by Laurent Lebois and Vicente Mata Silva/CalPhotos

TSA Turtle Tuesday: Narrow-bridged Musk Turtle

The small and agile narrow-bridged musk turtle (Claudius angustatus) is endemic to southern Mexico and northern Central America. Its relatively large head has very powerful jaws and pointed beak making it well adapted for its varied diet. An opportunistic carnivore, it eats all kinds of accessible prey types including fish, frogs, newts, snails, earthworms, insects and larvae. With its long neck and hooked lower jaw, the narrow-bridged mud turtle is a formidable hunter!

Photo by James Harding

(via: Turtle Survival Alliance)

Captive Claudius angustatus from Aquarium Zone. This species has no bony connection between the plastron and carapace (lower and upper shell), which allows the turtle to make threat displays by partially retracting its head with its huge mouth open. This isn’t a threat display… I’m not sure what is happening here.

Incidentally, Tetrapod Zoology just published an excellent article on Mud and Musk Turtles.

Anyone in the Boston area have room for a baby “mud turtle” in need of a new home??

Note- he’s listed as a mud turtle but I had my doubts and I have some agreement. Possibly a slider of some sort (Though the feet  have me unsure).

I avoid the pets section on craigslist like the plague (breaks my heart) but this little guy was listed in the free section. Really hoping he doesn’t end up in the wrong hands. I would adopt him immediately if I had the finances/space to give him the home he deserves.

click here for the ad.

Note he was a gift for an ex girlfriend. This is why giving pets as gifts is a really bad idea. Preparation, research and a full commitment is vital to raising a happy and healthy animal. 

Anyone up for the job??


Some of you may not know that I have a pet turtle. His name is Gucci Mane and he fucking hates me.

He’s a wild Mississippi Mud Turtle that I rescued about 2 years ago when he was found inside a box of live crawfish shipped to the restaurant where I worked.

I saved his ass and spent like $500 on turtle supplies and all he does is eat and hide and bite. He is basically a costly, aggressive pet rock.

Recently I bought him feeder fish to snack on and he fucking befriended them - just to be an asshole. He’s smug and inconsiderate and does nothing all day - and I would totally cry if he died.

Thankfully we have 30-50 years to work on our relationship, and I’m hoping that maybe he chills the fuck out while I’m away and my mom is taking care of him.