The Mud turtle
American mud turtles and musk turtles, which have a range that extends from southern Canada through much of South America. Many species in this groups are less than 13 cm in shell length.
Mud turtle is the common name for any group of small to medium sized aquatic turtles. Mud turtles are wide spread from Canada to North Western South America. The upper shell (also known as the carapace) usually does not grow any larger than 13 cm (5 inches) in length. All mud turtles have oval or elongated carapaces that may have longitudinal ridges or keels. The lower shell (also known as the plastron) has one or two hinges that allow it to close against the carapace, enabling the turtle to retract its soft body parts into its shell for protection from predators.
Mud turtles inhabit all forms of aquatic habitats, form temporary desert ponds and streams to large rivers and lakes. Many species occasionally forage on land and use terrestrial retreats for estivation
(summer activity) or borrow in pond bottoms during drought periods.
Mud turtles are poor swimmers and forage for food by walking along pond or lake bottoms, feeding on diverse invertebrates and vertebrates. Their life span in the wild is uncertain, but one Sonoran mud turtle has lived almost 37 years in captivity at the Baltimore zoo.
Lake Habitat Land Habitats School Site
St. Joseph's Intermediate "Exploring Land Habitats" Project