Eastern Musk Turtle Sternotherus odoratus

Photo courtesy of Mike Day.
Description: 4 - 5 inches. Common Musk Turtles have a dark brown to black upper shell (carapace) with no markings. The skin is dark, and the heads have two light colored lines on each side. The bottom shell (plastron) is light colored and much smaller than the upper shell, and has skin showing between the scales.

Similar Species: Large Snapping Turtles with smooth shells may appear similar to Common Musk Turtles in photos, but Snapping Turtles within the size range of Common Musk Turtles will have a much rougher upper shell, as well as a tail that is as long as the upper shell.

Comments: Two specimens have been captured in Rochester, Minnesota. It is unknown whether these two individuals represent released pets or naturally occurring individuals. This species is suspected to occur naturally in the Mississippi River south of Winona, Minnesota.

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Eastern Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

This map is generated from data provided by the Bell Museum of Natural History and HerpMapper.org. Please help us keep it up-to-date by submitting your amphibian and reptile observations.

Photographs