Yellow Mud Turtle (Kinosternon flavescens flavescens)
- The yellow mud turtle is a small, olive-colored turtle. Its name comes from the yellow-colored areas on its throat, head, and sides of 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.
- Life History
- Like other turtles, the yellow mud turtle spends time basking in the sun. Although these turtles are aquatic, they often leave the water to find food, to nest, or even to migrate to another area if their home dries up. They eat tadpoles, insects, worms and small mollusks.
The yellow mud turtle is capable of emitting a strong odor. When alarmed, it responds by secreting this odor from the musk glands that are found on each side of its body.
Studies show that mating among these turtles in captivity was stimulated by the addition of fresh water to their aquariums. The addition of fresh water may simulate newly fallen rain, suggesting that in nature they may mate after a rain shower. Nesting in Texas occurs during June. Females lay one to six hard, white eggs into the nest. The young turtles that hatch look like miniature adults.
- Yellow mud turtles inhabit aquatic systems, preferably with muddy bottoms, such as ponds, cattle tanks and lakes. They also commonly are found in canals, ditches and other slow-moving waterways.
- These turtles range throughout most of New Mexico and Oklahoma and parts of surrounding states including Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. They are found throughout Texas but are rare in the eastern third.