Herpetofauna - One Life's List

Common Musk Turtle (Stinkpot)
Sternotherus odoratus

St. Louis. Co., Missouri.  September 1976


Stinkpots live on the bottom of almost any body of water, and would be rarely seen except that they like to climb trees to bask, and sometimes end up falling in your canoe from a lowhanging branch. An uncle of mine ended up with a half dozen in his jon-boat after a day's fishing on Reelfoot Lake in Tennessee.  Occasionally I run across them far from water, but mostly I find their remains, inedible shells dropped in the woods after raccoons have eaten the rest. They stink to high heaven when handled, releasing musk from glands located in the skin near the bridge (where plastron and carapace meet).  That musky smell is indescribable, and unforgettable.  Sometimes you can spot them bumbling around on the bottom when the water is clear and shallow.
Return to Life List Index                    Return to Mike's Page