Yellow mud turtles are great pets for beginners. They are low maintenance and don’t require much to be content. When getting one, make sure you are doing so from a reputable turtle breeder/pet shop. Although they are aquatic, they spend as much time on land as they do in water.
Yellow Mud Turtle Facts and Information
The yellow mud turtle, also known as the yellow-necked mud turtle, is endemic to the North America, ranging from Northeastern Mexico to Midwestern and Southwestern United States.
They belong to the mud turtle (Kinosternon) genus, which includes other mud turtles such as the Mississippi Mud Turtle, and the Eastern Mud Turtle, and the family Kinosternidae.
Biologically, they are known as the Kinosternon flavescens. Although they are carnivorous, they feed on vegetation from time to time.
Yellow mud turtles are small turtles and have an average length of 4.49 inches/114 mm, a maximum length of 6 inches. The adult males are generally larger than the females are. These turtles have characteristically high-domed carapaces.
They are called yellow mud turtles because of the yellow coloration around their head, neck, and throats. This coloration sometimes continues to their shells.
The species’ bottom shell has two hinges, which allow these turtles to close each end separately. While male turtles have blunt spines on the end of their tails, females do not.
Although mud turtles can grow up to 40 years, most have an average lifespan of 15 years in the wild and those kept as pets have a lifespan of 10 years.
Yellow Mud Turtle Diet
Unlike many aquatic turtles, mud turtles will eat both on land and in water. They usually consume other animals smaller than they are such as reptiles, amphibians, and insects.
They prefer to forage for food in water but will also do so on land or on water surfaces. They generally eat eggs of other turtles and fish, small clams, snails, mollusk, crayfish, shrimp, fish, carrion and vegetation. They also prey on ticks, spiders, and earthworms.
As pets, they eat the same food that most carnivorous and omnivorous aquatic turtles eat. You can feed them snails, shrimps, earthworms, mealworms, feeder fish, lettuce, spinach, collard greens, and insects such as crickets, tree bugs and sow bugs.
They also eat commercially made turtle food. Even with that, it’s a good idea to complement their diet with animal protein, vegetables and pieces of fruit.
Although they eat both proteins and vegetation, the mud turtles tend to have more carnivorous and prefer turtle food designed for carnivorous turtles such as Masuria Aquatic Turtle Diet.
Yellow mud turtles prefer to feed in water; this can create a lot of mess. To avoid this, you can feed them in a different container and move them back into their aquarium when feeding is over.
Feed adult mud turtles twice or three times a week, and baby yellow mud turtles once a day.
Mud turtles kept indoors may need to be fed calcium and vitamin supplements.
Yellow Mud Turtle Habitat
Yellow mud turtles spend as much time out of water as they do in water. Aquatic habitats of this turtle species include flooded fields, oxbow lakes, marshes, water-filled ditches, ponds, sloughs, and rivers. During the winter and in hot summer months, they prefer to bury themselves in mud.
When kept as pets, this species requires a large tank. The minimum requirement is a 40-gallon turtle tank – the bigger the tank, the better. Mud turtles enjoy swimming in large tanks. Since they are not aggressive towards one another, you can have two or more turtles in one tank.
As with most aquatic turtles, mud turtles need to bask. As such, you need to provide a basking area. The basking area needs a romp for easy access. It’s important that the basking area be on the same level as the water in the tank.
The water in the tank should be between 70 to 75 degrees, which can be regulated using a water heater. While the basking area should have a UVB heat light with temperatures of around 90 degrees. A UVB light such as the Zoo Med Powers sun UVA/UVB bulb is perfect. The rest of the turtle enclosure/ tank should be between 80 and 85 degrees.
You need a pump and filter system to keep the water as clean as possible. As an added solution to helping keep the tank clean you can use an additive like the one from Fluker Labs to help remove waste.
These turtles can also be kept outside. If kept outside, make sure they have enough water to swim in. The waterbody provided should be deep enough so that it is cool on hot days and warm on cold days. Mud turtles also require a shaded area with mud in which to hibernate.
Yellow Mud Turtle Breeding
Yellow mud turtles mate in spring and summer from April to May, and also in September. Females nest in June or July and normally lay 6 to 8 eggs. They may make two different nests so as to reduce the risk of all their eggs from being found and fed on.
What Predators Does The Yellow Mud Turtle Have?
Like most aquatic turtles, yellow mud turtles feed on crayfish, snails, insects, and amphibians. While adult mud turtles don’t have natural predators, the young and the eggs are fed on by mammals, snakes, birds, and even insects.
Is The Yellow Mud Turtle Endangered?
The yellow mud turtles are generally not threatened or endangered. In Missouri and Illinois, however, they are listed as endangered by the state.
Mud turtles are easy to care for since they are low maintenance. They are small in size and keep to themselves. This makes them great pets for all turtle enthusiasts.
Over to you! Do you have one? Are you planning to get one? Let us know in the comments below!