Thank you for visiting the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department website. www.wildlife.state.nh.us NH Fish and Game

 

 

Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

Common Musk TurtleNH Conservation Status: Not listed

 

State Rank Status: Widespread and secure

 

Distribution: Southern NH

 

Description: A 2-5 inch turtle with a smooth, highly domed olive-brown or black carapace that may be irregularly streaked or spotted with dark pigment. On the head and neck are two yellow stripes terminating at the nose. There are two pairs of barbells on the chin and throat used for sensory purposes. May be referred to as the stinkpot in relation to the pungent odor it releases.

 

Commonly Confused Species: Juvenile snapping turtles

 

Habitat: Exclusively aquatic, found in ponds, shallow lakes, slow-moving streams and rivers that have soft muddy bottoms. Tolerate a narrow range of temperatures, moving to deeper, cooler water when temperatures get too high.

 

Life History: Nests are excavated close to the water’s edge in loamy soil. Hibernates in aquatic or wetland habitats. May climb limbs over water to bask.

 

Conservation Threats: Habitat loss, increased abundance of subsidized predators, water pollution.

 

Distribution Map: View a map showing the towns where this species is reported to occur in NH PDF Document

 

Common Musk Turtle

Musk turtles have yellow lines across the side of their head and neck.

Common Musk Turtle

Plastron (lower shell) of a musk turtle.