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Yellow Mud Turtle Facts

OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Illinois mud turtle; Spanish: Tortuga-pecho quebrado amarilla.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

This is a small kinosternid turtle (most shell size 6 in [16 cm]) with a yellowish chin and throat and a low carapace, with the ninth marginal scute raised distinctly greater than the eighth however equal to the peak of the tenth. The plastron has two hinges and isn't tremendously decreased and the pectoral scutes are triangular in form and are solely narrowly in touch.

DISTRIBUTION

Ranges practically repeatedly from southern Nebraska to southern New Mexico and to northeastern Mexico, with relict populations identified in northwestern Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and east Texas.

HABITAT

An inhabitant of grassland habitats, preferring nonetheless water, this turtle is also present in everlasting to very short-term swimming pools, even these created by people (e.g., ditches and cattle ponds). It is barely not often present in streams or rivers, after which solely in backwaters or cutoffs.

BEHAVIOR

This turtle spends nearly all of every year inactive, buried underground (hibernating or estivating). Activity is stimulated by heat rains (and filling ponds); these turtles will migrate appreciable distances from emergence websites to our bodies of water, and therefore are most frequently seen transferring terrestrially. The exercise season for some populations is as brief as for any identified turtle—as little as two months in very dry years. As ponds dry up these turtles once more bury terrestrially and estivate and/or hibernate till the following heat wet season. Yellow mud turtles are additionally incessantly seen basking on the fringe of the water, even in subtropical places.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

This species is decidedly carnivorous, and plant matter discovered of their abdomen was most likely solely unintentionally ingested when foraging for small animals corresponding to snails, clams, bugs, crustaceans, earthworms, tadpoles, and fish. They usually forage on carrion.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Yellow mud turtles mate rapaciously once they emerge from dormancy and attain the water. Warm rainfall escalates courtship conduct; in captivity males could be induced to courtroom females just by altering the water of their containers. Females depart the water and will migrate appreciable distances to nest in May and June. In Nebraska, gravid females bury themselves utterly underground 6–10 in (15–25 cm) and deposit their eggs whereas buried at these depths. Females stay buried for variable durations as soon as the eggs are laid. Some females might dig out and return to the water the following day after nesting, however some apparently stay in estivation with the eggs via the summer season after which dig deeper within the autumn to hibernate for the winter. The eggs are small and elliptical (0.9–1.2 0.6–0.7 in [23–31 14–18 mm]) with white, brittle eggshells. The clutch dimension ranges from one to 9 (sometimes 4 to six), with bigger females producing bigger clutches. A most of a single clutch is produced per year in most populations, and a few females don't nest yearly. However, two clutches per year could also be produced in southern populations. Eggs hatch after 90 to 118 days; not less than in Nebraska, hatchlings then dig straight down as a lot as three ft (1 m) under the nest to keep away from freezing temperatures through the winter. They dig again out and head for the water throughout the next spring.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened. This species has a large distribution and displays excessive densities in lots of populations, and so just isn't in want of safety over most of its vary. However, most relict populations in northwestern Nebraska, southeastern Iowa, western Illinois, and northeastern Missouri are small, susceptible to extirpation, and therefore in nice want of safety.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Exploited solely minimally by people for the pet commerce.