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Common Musk Turtles

Scientific Name: Sternotherus odoratus


Species Ambassadors:


Our female Musk turtle came to Blandford in 2011.  She was an illegal pet that was confiscated by animal control.  Her illegal owner did not take proper care of her and she now has serious shell defects.  She is also missing her right back foot.


Pepe came to Blandford shortly after Flower.  He is missing a back leg and was emaciated when he arrived.  He also was an illegal pet. Thankfully, the staff at Blandford has nursed him back to health, but he can never be released back into the wild due to his missing back leg.

Status of Musk Turtles in Michigan

Musk turtles are not currently protected by Michigan law.  It is, however, illegal to own them without the proper permits. 


These turtles inhabit shallow streams, ponds, rivers and shallow areas of clear lakes with sandy bottoms.


Musk turtles tend to search for food on the sandy bottoms of streams, ponds and lakes.  They eat snails, insects, crayfish, tadpoles, small fish and small amounts of plant matter. 

Importance of Musk Turtles in Our Ecosystems

Musk turtles help control insect populations.

Threats to Musk Turtles

There are currently no serious threats to Musk turtle populations.

Interesting Facts

-Musk turtles release an unpleasant odor when threatened.  

-This species is very aggressive and will not hesitate to bite if handled.

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