Nicknamed the “cow dung scooter,” the striped mud turtle forages in piles of manure for food. This inhabitant of Florida’s drainage ditches and swamps is good at finding insects in the muck.
This small turtle does not exceed a carapace length of 4-3/4 inches. It has three long, light stripes on a smooth, keelless carapace. The color varies from a horn color to black and is often a reddish-brown. Stripes may become obscured with age. The plastron has two well-developed hinges and 11 scutes. The hinges allow the turtle to partially withdraw into its shell, but the closure is not as complete as in box turtles. Males have a spine-tipped tail and rough scale patches on the inside of the hind legs. It has musk glands on the sides of the body that it will empty when frightened. (Long time captive give up this habit.)
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The striped mud turtle is sometimes called the "cow-dung scooter" because it forages in manure.
This is the most terrestrial of the mud turtles, and is often seen crossing roads and visiting puddles after downpours. It is otherwise aquatic and crawls along the bottom. It is very adept at finding insect larvae that are crawling in the ooze at the bottom of ponds and creeks.
These turtles nest from September to June with the nests being dug in sand or decaying vegetation. The eggs are oval, and measure approximately 1” by .6”. The hatchlings are just under an inch long, but grow quickly for a few years, then slow down for the rest of their life.