Meet the Eastern Musk Turtle (also known as the “Stinkpot Turtle”). They are mostly aquatic and spend their lives on the bottoms of ponds and streams, so they are rarely seen, but they are abundant in the Southeastern part of Pennsylvania. They are so named for their musk glands present on the edge of the shell which can release a foul musky odor.
This juvenile musk turtle is very young. Adults are 2 to 5 inches long, but this little one is only one inch. It was found at Blue Marsh last spring by someone who kept it as a pet. It was rescued by a relative and brought to Red Creek this winter. This spring, it will be released back at Blue Marsh. It is very important that we know where it came from. Reptiles and amphibians need to be released back to their original locations. For some turtles, like the box turtle, it is believed that most won’t thrive outside of their home range. For others, it’s important to reduce the chance of spreading disease or infectious fungi for one population to another.
All wild animals are protected in Pennsylvania, even reptiles and amphibians. If one is found injured or sick, we are here to help. If it’s merely in a dangerous location, move it to a safe location nearby. If it’s not in trouble, take a picture, keep a memory, and enjoy the chance of seeing these elusive creatures, but leave it where it is.