Butterflies practice a behavior called “puddling” to acquire sodium and other necessary minerals. They do so by sucking the nutrient-rich liquids out of mud, soil, carrion, or, as seen here, turtle tears.
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…
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!
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.
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.