Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)

Striped Mud Turtle

Common Name:

Striped Mud Turtle

Photo of Eastern Mud Turtle courtesy of Brenda and Jim Bardsley 

Photo of Eastern Mud Turtle courtesy of Brenda and Jim Bardsley 

Size: 3 - 4 inches; record 5 7/16 inches

  • The striped mud turtle has 3 faint light stripes running the length of its chocolate-colored carapace. The stripes may only be seen when wet or may be completely faded. This species is overall much darker than the more common eastern mud turtle (K. subrubrum). This species is only a recent discovery in Maryland (Anne Arundel and Caroline Counties.) and in Delaware (Sussex Co.). It has likely been here all along, just overlooked and misidentified.
  • The most distinguishing characteristic is the light line running from the eyes to the nostrils.


The few places it has been found in Maryland and Delaware are all associated with the upper reaches of tidal fresh rivers and creeks and the adjacent forested floodplain and upland habitat. Range wide, it is also found in hardwood and cypress swamps, streams, sloughs, blackwater rivers, ponds, lakes, wet meadows, Carolina Bays, and drainage ditches.

How to Find:

Look in appropriate habitat. Please report any suspected findings to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Please include photographs of the head and shell, plus the date and exact location where found.

Distribution in Maryland:

Thus far, this has been found in Anne Arundel and Caroline Counties, though it likely is on the Coastal Plain from those counties south to the Virginia line in appropriate habitat.