Musk Turtles

Musk Turtles are small freshwater turtles that are not commonly found in North Carolina. Distinguishing Musk Turtles from Mud Turtles is quite difficult.  Both are approximately 4-6 inches long with a smooth olive to dark brown carapace or upper shell.  The Mud Turtle usually has a smoother carapace compared to the Musk Turtle.  A better way to differentiate between the two is to look at their plastron or lower shell.  Both Mud and Musk Turtles have hinged plastrons to allow them to hide box up.  However, the Mud Turtle has a more prominent hinge compared to the Musk Turtle.  Additionally, the Mud Turtle’s scutes or the scale on their shell is more triangular whereas in the Musk Turtle, it is more trapezoid.  Both turtles also release a pungent smell but as the name implies, the Musk Turtle’s scent is stronger than Mud Turtles.