Species group: Mud and Musk Turtles
Other common names: Eastern Mud Turtle(K. s. subrubrum); Mississippi Mud Turtle ( K. s. hippocrepis); Florida Mud Turtle (K. s. steindachneri)
Scientific name: Kinosternon subrubrum
Don’t be put off by this active little turtle’s somewhat drab coloration. Small, bold, and very hardy, Common Mud Turtles are one of the best pet choices for novice keepers, and interesting enough for experienced pros.
The Common Mud Turtle is a USA endemic, ranging from southern Connecticut and Long island, NY west to Illinois and south to northern Florida and Kentucky.
Common Mud Turtles may be found in quiet, mud-bottomed bodies of water such as swamps, lakes, sluggish rivers, canals, farm and city park ponds, and marshes, where they spend most of their time foraging on the bottom.
Appearance / health:
The smooth, oval carapace is yellowish-brown, olive or black in color, with yellow or white strips marking the head. The plastron bears 2 hinges, which may cease to function in older individuals. Adults top out at 12.5 cm (5 in) in length.
Well-cared-for Common Mud Turtles are quite hardy, with captive longevities sometimes exceeding 50 years. Sub-optimal temperatures, an inappropriate diet, or poor water quality can lead to fungal/bacterial infections of the shell, skin, and eyes, and other ailments.
Behavior / temperament:
Common Mud Turtles quickly learn to associate people with food, and will paddle over to beg as soon as someone enters the room. They acclimate well to even quite busy locations, feed readily from the hand, and may even reproduce. Like all turtles, they dislike being handled and will bite when threatened.
An adult requires a 20 gallon long-style aquarium. Common Mud Turtles are best housed in bare-bottomed aquariums, as gravel traps waste material, and may be swallowed. Commercial turtle docks or cork bark flats work well as basking sites; sub-surface sites should be available as well. Powerful filters are necessary unless the enclosure can be emptied several times weekly. Removing your turtles to an easily-cleaned container for feeding will lessen the filter’s workload. Common Mud Turtles utilize dietary Vitamin D, and so if provided a healthful diet they do not require UVB exposure; many keepers provide UVB as “insurance”, however. A water temperature of 70-76 F and basking site of 82 F should be maintained.
The natural diet includes fish, tadpoles, snails, carrion, insects, small frogs, shrimp, and some aquatic vegetation. Pets should be offered a diet comprised largely of minnows, shiners, earthworms, and prawn; a goldfish-heavy diet has been linked to kidney and liver disorders. Duckweed, roaches, crickets and other insects may be used to add variety to the diet. A high quality commercial turtle chow can comprise up to 50% of the diet. Cuttlebone should be available to supplement the calcium provided by whole fishes.
Males may be distinguished their smaller size, thick tails, and rough skin patches on the inner thighs. Gravid (egg-bearing) females usually become restless. They should be removed to a large container (i.e. 5x the length and width of the turtle) provisioned with slightly moist soil and sand. Females that do not deposit their eggs should be seen by a veterinarian, as egg retention invariably leads to a fatal infection (egg peritonitis). The 1-9 eggs may be incubated in a mix of 1 part vermiculite to 1 part water (by weight) at 78-85 F for 80-100 days.
Written by Frank Indiviglio
low maintenance animal, nice pet, .Energetic turtle, easy going attitude
When I was about 8 years old, or so, my father came home with a little surprise. He had pulled over to the side of the road to save a slow moving turtle that was trying to get across. When he picked it up to examine it he saw that it had the initials "JT" etched into the bottom of his shell. My dad found this interesting, so, he brought it home for me to keep as a pet.
I was excited to get the turtle, and found the initials interesting as well. What did the initials stand for, who was he, where was he from, how long had he been torturing this turtle before it made it's escape for the highway only to be rescued by my father? All of these questions would have to wait. I had never owned a turtle before, and had no idea what to do.
Luckily, as children we are all born with an intrinsic understanding that the first thing you do with any creature that's been abducted from it's natural habitat is line a box with newspaper, put in a Mason jar's lid full of water, and beside the water is where the shredded lettuce, or other fresh vegetable goes.
It went like this for several weeks. JT would sit inside his box, staring upwards, wondering if his green forest was just over the cardboard walls. Me letting him out to slip across the hardwood floors for a few minutes each day. Not really exciting stuff for anyone involved. I had begun giving him flies, and pieces of hamburger when he failed to show any interest in the rotting vegetation I had been giving him.
After about 2 months, I decided that this was no life for a turtle who had been through so much. After cleaning up his box, replacing his box, and putting up with the horrible smell of my little, slow moving friend, I decided he had earned yet another shot at freedom.
My father and I went camping in Virginia, and I took JT along. Little did he know he was not just being moved into another box. He was being set free far from roads, and cars, and little boys with carving utensils.
I hope he lived a long and happy turtle life in the forest..
From Jogrefoln Aug 18 2015 6:04PM