Musk Turtle Care

The Essential Guide for Proper Musk Turtle Care

If you’re thinking of adding a musk turtle to your family, it’s important to learn about their needs to provide the best care possible. This guide will teach you everything you need to know about musk turtle care, from housing and feeding to handling and cleaning.

We’ll also discuss some common problems that musk turtles can encounter and how to prevent them. Following these guidelines can help ensure that your musk turtle lives a healthy and happy life. 

So whether you are a first-time musk turtle owner or just looking for some refresher tips, read on for essential information on musk turtle care.

Basic Info about musk turtle


Basic Info about musk turtle
Scientific NameSternotherus odoratus.
Common NameMusk turtle, eastern musk turtle, or stinkpot.
Adult Size7.5-12.5cm (3-5 inch).
Max Size:4 to 4.5 inches for a full grown musk turtle.
Lifespan40-60 years.
DietSmall snails, mollusks, crayfish and aquatic insects such as dragonfly and damselfly nymphs. Additionally, small tadpoles and terrestrial insects fall into the water. They will consume plant matter such as Elodea species or duckweed, but not too often.
RangeFrom the Mississippi River to the Unaka Mountains.
Behavior:Defensive tactic. This turtle will quickly discharge a noxious liquid from its musk glands when frightened.
Clutch Size1-9 eggs.
Legal to Keep in USAYes.
Extinction statusLeast Concern

Can you keep a musk turtle as a pet? 

Yes. We can keep musk turtle as pets.  The common musk turtle, often called the Eastern musk turtle or stinkpot, is a popular choice as a pet due to its size and ease of upkeep. They do best in a freshwater aquarium with a filter and heater and should be fed a diet of live or frozen worms, insects, and fish.

Can you keep a musk turtle as a pet

Are Musk Turtles easy to take care of?

Yes, musk turtles are relatively easy to take care of. They do well when kept in a tank with clean water and plenty of hiding places.

They generally have a very mellow temperament and do well in captivity and the wild. Your turtle will be happy and healthy if you provide a clean, spacious habitat with plenty of fresh water and food. Musk turtles prefer cooler water temperatures and can become sick if the water is too warm.

Are Musk Turtles easy to take care of

What does a Musk turtle need in a tank?

Generally, a musk turtle needs a tank of at least 20 gallons with a water depth of 6-12 inches. The water should be clean and have a temperature of around 72-78 degrees Fahrenheit for adults and 78-80 degrees Fahrenheit for juveniles.

What does a Musk turtle need in a tank

As for what else to include in the tank, it’s important to provide plenty of hiding places for the turtle to feel safe and a basking spot where it can get out of the water and dry off. You’ll also need to provide UVB lighting and a quality diet rich in proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

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How to take care of a Musk Turtle

Care of musk turtle is quite easy. Follow these musk turtle care sheet guidelines to ensure your pet remains healthy and happy. 

How to take care of a Musk Turtle


Regarding housing your musk turtle, there are a few things to remember. Musk turtles are fairly easy to care for and make great pets for both experienced turtle owners and those new to keeping turtles. Musk turtles do best in an aquarium with a water depth of at least 6 inches.

They also need a basking area to climb out of the water to dry off and warm up. Be sure to use a turtle-safe basking lamp to provide the necessary heat and UVB radiation. Providing your musk turtle with a proper housing system will help ensure that he is healthy and happy for many years.


Heating is an important part of caring for a musk turtle, as they require temperatures between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit to stay healthy. A basking light can be used to create this warm environment, and it is important to keep an eye on the temperature to make sure it does not get too hot. By providing the proper housing and care, musk turtles can make rewarding and long-lived pets.

Water Care.

One of the most important aspects of water care is ensuring the water is clean. Musk turtles are very sensitive to water quality, and even a small amount of ammonia can make them sick. So it’s important to do regular water changes and to use a filter to keep the water clean.

Take care of a Musk Turtle

Another important aspect of water care is ensuring the water’s temperature is consistent. Musk turtles like warm water, so you’ll need to use a Turtle Heater to keep the temperature steady.


These turtles are relatively small, so they don’t require a lot of space and are easy to care for. Musk turtles are semi-aquatic, so they need a dry area to bask in and a water area to swim in. They also need a filter for their water area and a basking light.

Musk turtles are omnivores, so their diet should include plant and animal matter. Regarding personality, musk turtles can be quite shy and curious.

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Muskrats eat a variety of small snails, mollusks, and crustaceans. They will also actively pursue any insect that falls into the water or tadpoles which they find delicious. Plant matter has been recorded in their diets on occasion too. 

Most commonly, Elodea species though it’s unknown what other plants this might apply to besides those found near lakes/streams where muskrats live.


Incubating eggs is a process where you need to take care of the temperature, humidity, and light. That means there will be no babies in your incubator. If both males and females are fit, they can breed naturally without any human encouragement. However, if one or either condition isn’t good enough for this natural breeding process, it may not succeed.

Now you should have access to an appropriate nesting box that is large enough for your needs and deep enough. We recommend using Spider Life Substrate in these boxes. It provides just the right amount of moisture without getting saturated or moldy too quickly. And it will not be tempted by any potential predators.

Take care of a Musk Turtles

You can incubate the eggs in sealed boxes at 84oF. The humidity around the egg helps trap moisture inside, which causes premature birth for baby chicks. After 60 days, they will emerge from their shells with encouragement provided by others.


1. Do musk turtles like to be handled?

There’s no easy answer to this question, as it likely depends on the individual musk turtle. Some turtles may enjoy being handled and come out of their shell to explore and bask in the attention, while others may be shyer or stressed by human interaction.
Generally speaking, it’s always best to handle turtles as minimally as possible. They’re not domesticated animals and should be treated as wild creatures. That said, if your turtle seems to enjoy being handled, by all means, go ahead and pet him/her gently – but be sure not to squeeze too hard.

2. Do musk turtle bites hurt?

Musk turtle bites can hurt. Their mouths are full of sharp little teeth that can easily puncture the skin. Not only that but their saliva is also known to be quite irritating. So if you ever find yourself on the receiving end of a musk turtle bite, be prepared for some pain.


Musk turtles are great pets for reptile lovers of all experience levels. These turtles can live a long time in captivity if they are well cared for, so it is worth taking the time to do things right from the start. Following this care guide will help your new pet stay healthy and happy if you bring home a musk turtle.

With a little bit of effort on your part, you can provide your musk turtle with everything it needs to thrive. Thanks for reading, and good luck with your new pet.

Musk Turtle Care

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