Striped Mud Turtle

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Species group:

Other common names: Three-striped Mud Turtle

Scientific name: Kinosternon baurii

The basics:
The Striped Mud Turtle can be found in brackish waters along the eastern coast of the U.S. from Virginia to Florida.

Appearance / health:
The Striped Mud Turtle stands out when viewed from above with its reddish brown shell coloring with three stripes running from head to tail. When viewed from above the three stripes are complimented by a yellow band that frames the head, seeming to run through the eye from nose to neck. The plastron may be a solid intense yellow or yellow with some reddish brown markings. As with most turtles their coloring can vary greatly but the yellow head markings are usually consistent. Those from North Carolina are missing the shell stripes.


AVERAGE ADULT SIZE: 3 – 5 inches

Behavior / temperament:
Although not as interactive as Painteds or Sliders, the Striped Mud Turtle will learn who brings the food and beg accordingly.

The Striped Mud Turtle can be housed either indoors or out. One turtle will need at least a 30 gallon tank when housed indoors. Given their preference for brackish waters, maintaining their water at a slightly saline level may also be preferred. They must have a highly efficient filter whether in a pond or tank. They will need a gravel bottom, a graduated water depth of 6-12 inches, mild current, floating logs, and lots of hiding places (caves, vegetation etc.) About half of their space should be dedicated to land areas. If they are housed indoors they will also need full spectrum lighting.

LIFESPAN: 20 – 50 years

TEMPERATURE/HUMIDITY: Water Temperature: 64 - 75° F, Ambient Air Temperature: 80-85° F, Basking: 85-95 °F.

HIBERNATION / ESTIVATION: They will naturally estivate in the summer and hibernate in the winter if housed outdoors by burrowing. Wild populations in Virginia hibernate from about November to March.

HEALTH CONCERNS: Striped Mud Turtles collected directly from the wild will have a high parasite load. Those born in captivity and have been given quality care are less likely to be stressed by the pet life and much healthier overall. They can also suffer from nutritional deficiencies and respiratory diseases. Symptoms of respiratory illness include gasping, an unnatural jerking of the head, and holding their head above water for extended periods of time. Your reptile veterinarian will be an invaluable partner in keeping your turtle healthy.

Striped Mud Turtles scavenge most any food they find on the bottom of their lake or river and seek out food on land as well. They are considered omnivores but have a preference for meat. Their natural diet includes mollusks, algae, seeds, water insects, fish, and aquatic plants. In captivity they can be fed a varied omnivore diet similar to their wild diet. They can be feed mealworms, crickets, fish, and greens. They will also enjoy turtle pellets which are a healthy option.

In the wild, after a springtime courtship, the female will lay 1-4 eggs that will hatch 3 - 4 months later.

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