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eastern mud turtle

eastern mud turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)
Photo © Brad M. Glorioso

Features and Behaviors

The eastern mud turtle averages about three to four inches in length. Its carapace (upper shell) is smooth and some shade of brown. The plastron (lower shell) is double-hinged. A broad bridge connects the upper and lower shells. The head is spotted, mottled or streaked with yellow. This animal has barbels (whiskerlike projections) on its chin and neck.

The eastern mud turtle may be found in the southern one-third of Illinois. It lives in shallow water with a soft bottom such as in marshes, ditches, swamps and sloughs. The common mud turtle is aquatic but often leaves the water. Mating occurs in spring. The female deposits one to six eggs in a nest dug in soil or vegetation in spring or early summer. This animal feeds while walking along the bottom of ponds and sloughs, eating mostly insects.

Illinois Range


​Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Kinosternidae

Illinois Status: common, native