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Species Information

Habitat/Range: Musk turtles are found in the eastern United States and Canada in slow moving streams, lakes, ponds, and freshwater streams. 

Behavior: Musk turtles are omnivores and have a varied diet including arthropods, mollusks, fish, algae, seeds, and other plants. As hatchings, they consume a higher content of protein and shift to a more plant heavy diet as they grow. Musk turtles spend nearly all of their time in the water, coming on land only to lay their eggs. They are able to climb rocks and sloped branches to bask in the sun. They are called musk turtles because of small glands they have on their underside that excretes a foul odor. This odor is thought to deter predators. 

Breeding: In the springtime, females lay 2-9 hard shelled, elliptical eggs in a shallow burrow or underneath shoreline debris. Eggs incubate for 100-150 days and hatch in late summer/early fall. 

Conservation: Not listed. The common musk turtle does not have a federal or state ranking but is considered endangered in Ontario. Some species of musk turtle are endangered or threatened due to shoreline development and water pollution. 

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