Wild Fact #399 – What’s That Smell?!? – Stinkpot Turtle

Stinkpot Turtle

Photo by Laurent Lebois (Wikimedia)

I have a hunch that today’s Wild Fact is really going to stink.Yes, that is because we are going to learn about the foul-smelling Stinkpot Turtle. It is also known as the Common Musk Turtle and can typically be found in southeastern Canada and the eastern United States. More specifically, you will find these little turtles hanging out in slow moving, shallow water bodies with a nice muddy bottom. So grab your rubber boots, a pair of nose plugs and lets go learn a little more about this smelly turtle.

Too Stinky To Eat

As you may have guessed, the Stinkpot Turtle gets their name from its ability to release a foul, musky odour. Using that definition, you could probably start calling your Dad a “Stinkpot Turtle”. The purpose of this foul smell is to encourage predators to look somewhere else for dinner. Since they are only 8 to 14 cm (3 to 5 inches) in size, this is an important feature for them. Luckily this tactic works incredibly well as the Stinkpot Turtle is hardly ever preyed on. You know you smell bad when a hungry wild animal doesn’t even want to eat you.

Stinkpot Turtle

Photo from Wikimedia

Cottage Life

As mentioned earlier, the Stinkpot Turtle spends the majority of their time in slow moving water bodies that typically have a muddy bottom. For the most part, they only venture out onto land when ti is time for the female to lay her eggs. With that said, some turtles will go out every now and again to bask in the sun. I guess even turtles can’t resist lying on the beach from time to time. Similarly, ┬áthese smelly little turtles have been known to climb up large tree branches, sometimes even higher than 2 m (6 feet) into the air. As boats drive by the turtles will often fall in and go for a nice boat ride. Suntanning and boating… it sounds like a pretty good day at the pond to me.

One Smelly Pet

Although the Stinkpot Turtle smells rotten, this doesn’t stop people from owning them as pets. Recently, the Common Musk Turtle is becoming a popular pet among households. I don’t normally condone having wild animals as pets, however, owning the Common Musk Turtle is taking the pressure off of other more endangered turtles, which is bonus. In fact, the USDA bans the sale of turtles smaller than 4 inches except for the Stinkpot Turtle, so even they are on board with them being used as pets.

That does it for today’s Wild Fact. Enjoy the rest of your day and I will see you tomorrow for another animal fact.

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