Yellow mud turtle

Yellow mud turtle

name = Yellow Mud Turtle
status = LC
trend = stable

regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Reptilia
ordo = Testudines
familia = Kinosternidae
genus = "kinosternon
synonyms =
"Kinosternon flavescens"

"Yellow Mud Turtle" ("Kinosternon flavescens") is a species of Mud turtles that can be found in the Central United States and in a little bit of Mexico.


The yellow mud turtle is a small, olive-colored turtle. Its name comes from the yellow colored areas on its throat, head and on the sides on its neck. The bottom shell is yellow to brown with two hinges, allowing the turtle to close each end separately. The male's tail has a blunt spine on the end, but the female's tail does not.


The yellow mud turtle has a lifespan of 15 years. Yellow mud turtles are highly susceptible to predation, especially by Western hognose snakes, but also several species of skunks, raccoons and small rodents.


Yellow mud turtles have been observed in ponds with sand bottoms and ponds with muddy bottoms and in water with and without vegetation. In laboratory situations, yellow mud turtles preferred vegetation. Yellow mud turtles are restricted in their northern range to areas that are sandy, which allows them to burrow to a sufficient depth to avoid freezing solid, so the turtles that hibernate in the ground have a better chance of surviving the winter. Mud turtles quickly leave drying pools in late July to bury themselves until the following spring. A few specimens have been observed in the water during winter, but this number id extremely small.


Yellow mud turtles are omnivorous. Their diet includes worms, crayfish, frogs, snails, fish, fairy shrimp, slugs, leeches, tadpoles and other aquatic insects and invertebrates. They also eat vegetation and dead and decaying matter.

Yellow mud turtles forage on land and water for food. In early spring their main diet is fairy shrimp they find in the shallow of their ponds. While they are burrowing, they will any earthworms or grubs that they might encounter. Studies show while these turtles are hibernating, that they will eat earthworms that pass in front of them. Although they do not actively tunnel in search for food, they are alert to take it when available.

Yellow mud turtles are known for their habit of "snapping" or rather biting people who either keep them as house pets or as research lab experimenters. When fed in shallow water, the turtles will glance at fallen food article, and quickly swim after the "prey", trying to use their small, but strong mouths in order to capture it.


Most female aquatic turtles excavate a nest in the soil near a water source, deposit their eggs and leave, but yellow mud turtles exhibit a pattern of parental care. They are the only turtle that has been observed that stays with the eggs for any period of time. The female stays with the eggs for a period of time of a few hours up to 38 days. It is believed that the female stays to keep the predators away from the eggs. It was also observed that the females would urinate on their nests in dry years. This is believed to aid in the hatch success rate of the eggs in dry years.

It is believed that in their natural habitat that spring rains induce the turtles to begin nesting. The eggs hatch in the fall and some hatchlings leave the nest and spend the winter in aquatic habitats, but most of the hatchlings burrow below the nest and wait until spring to emerge and then move to the water. This is believed to aid in survival rates of the hatchlings, because some water bodies freeze solid during the winter. Another benefit of waiting to emerge in the spring is that hatchlings enter an environment of increasing resources, such as heat, light, and food.



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