Common Musk Turtle


Sternotherus oderatus

Order: Testudines

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • Temperature, Humidity, & Lighting:
    • Temperature:
    • Humidity:
    • Lighting:
  • Substrate:

Diet Requirements

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training


Colony or Breeding Management

Notes species is housed or managed socially or for breeding purposes.

Individual Identification


Programmatic Information


hot water bottle

Temperature Guidelines

  • Brandywine Zoo: During cool weather (under 65°F), supplemental heat is provided with a hot water bottle set to one side of the transport cooler. Place hot water bottle on outside of transport box, but inside secondary cooler.


  • Brandywine Zoo: aquatic turtles travel in a locking-lid type tote that have been amended with extra ventilation holes on the lid (with a wood-burning tool). Some species are transported with 1-2cm of water, while others are transported with the tote lined with very wet (but no standing water) paper towels.turtle tote
  • During cool weather, the tote is transported inside a larger, secondary Coleman style cooler.
  •  lg cooler  sm cooler

Tips on Presentation

Touching Techniques

Tips on Handling

Potential Messaging

  • In general, animals seen at the zoo do not make good pets. Most have specialized dietary, veterinary, housing, and social needs that are difficult or impossible for even dedicated pet owners to meet. Always ensure that your future pet has not been taken from the wild. Captured animals are typically mistreated by profit-motivated traffickers and dealers, resulting in many animal deaths; well-meaning animal lovers may feel like they are rescuing animals by purchasing them but are really perpetuating the cruelty. In addition, many exotic pets are released by their owners when they become too dangerous or demanding, often with devastating effects on local ecosystems. Animals that should never be kept as pets include all bats, primates, and exotic carnivores. Birds, fish, and reptiles have specialized needs, are frequently wild-caught, and damage the local environment if released; guests should be advised to educate themselves and proceed with caution. Domestic dogs and cats are almost always the best option! Many deserving animals are available for adoption at animal shelters.
  • Habitat Loss

Acquisition Information


Comments from the Rating System

  • Pittsburgh Zoo: Care is simple enough, but they are a little small for most of our programs.
  • Zoo America: Likes to bite.

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat


Physical Description


Life Cycle




Threats and Conservation Status

Did you know…


Cover photo: By Ltshears (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Any Documents to attach, species spotlights, etc.

Contributors and Citations