Monday, August 10, 2009

Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)

This forward little critter was found toiling up the steep banks, heading for the street. I thought it might be a female looking for a place to lay eggs, but it was so small (3.5 - 4 inches, less than 10cm). She had a very pointy nose, with that and the color I ID-ed her as Sternotherus odoratus. I didn't get "musked" but the common name is "Stinkpot"! Her back was covered with green algae, not dried out so she must have come up the bank pretty speedily.

From Michigan DNR: "Rarely bask, are generally seen foraging along the bottom in shallow water. May be nocturnal in summer. They eat snails, crayfish, insects, tadpoles, etc. If disturbed, glands along lower edge of shell secrete a foul-smelling musk, hence the common name "stinkpot."...mostly inhabits clear lakes with sand or marl bottoms."

The Portage is a pretty clean river.