As a boy working for an animal importer in NYC, I was much taken by the first hatchling Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus) I encountered. The minute, jet-black beast, much smaller than a baby Red-Eared Slider, was irresistible. Last month that very same turtle turned 46 (please see photo). So I am, of course, partial to the species, but there are actually very good reasons to keep this fascinating turtle and its relatives.
This turtle rarely exceeds 4 inches in length (record: 5 3/8 inches); males average 3 inches. The highly-domed carapace is olive-brown to black and often algae-coated. The plastron is small, leaving a good deal of flesh exposed. The skin is gray to black, and there are two yellow stripes on the head and a pair of sensory barbels (fleshy protuberances) on the chin and throat. Read More »