Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)
Eastern Musk Turtle
Photo of Eastern Musk Turtle courtesy of John White
2 - 4½ inches. Record - 5 inches.
Photo of Eastern Musk Turtle courtesy of Scott A. Smith
Also known as “Stinkpot”, its fetid smell aids in identification.
Photo of Habitat for Eastern Musk Turtle courtesy of Rebecca Chalmers
Found in most permanent bodies of water with slow current and soft bottoms, including ponds, lakes, swamps, streams and rivers. It is not found in brackish waters. Often climbs slanting trees on swamp and marsh edges, where they occasionally fall onto boaters.
How to Find
Look in shallow water areas from April to September, particularly areas of still water. It is chiefly nocturnal, resting on the bottom during the day. It can sometimes be observed through binoculars basking on trees. May be ill-tempered if handled.
Distribution in Maryland
Can be found throughout Maryland but more common on the Coastal Plain.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
To see older newsletters, please visit the MARA Resource Page.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.