Loggerhead Musk Turtle

loggerhead musk turtle

When threatened, the loggerhead musk turtle secretes a foul-smelling liquid from glands at the base of its tail that has earned it the nickname ‘stinkpot’. Growing up to five inches long, this omnivorous turtle is found in muddy-bottomed lakes, ponds, and streams in the southeastern United States.

Helmeted Turtle

helmeted turtle web

Making its home in temporary marshes, mud pits and watering holes of the savannah, the helmeted turtle is an aggressive predator of small aquatic creatures.  Groups of helmeted turtles have been known to work together to take down larger prey such as a bird.  At the end of the rainy season, the turtle burrows into a mud hole bottom until the rains return.

Matamata

Mata Mata Turtle (31) web

The matamata turtle sits camouflaged on the bottom of a stream and waits for an unsuspecting fish to swim by. Once a fish is within reach, the turtle thrusts its head forward, opens its mouth as wide as possible and sucks in the fish like a vacuum. The turtle swallows the fish whole.


 

Barbour’s map turtle

barbours map turtle web

Barbour’s map turtle inhabits sandy or muddy rivers with plenty of rocks and snags for basking in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Females grow more than double the size of males, and feed on clams and snails while the smaller males eat aquatic insects.

Spotted Turtle

Spotted Turtle - 04 web

Spotted turtles gather together on a log to spend a sunny day basking. If alarmed, they will dive into the water and bury themselves in the mud for protection. They also burrow in the mud to escape the heat on very warm days and to hibernate during the winter.

Red-eared Slider

Red-eared Slider - 14 web

The red-eared slider is named for the bright red patches on the sides of its head and the way it slides into the water when alarmed. As a sociable species, the red-eared slider often climbs atop one another while basking in the sun on a log or rock emerging from the water.

Radiated Tortoise

Radiated Tortoise (42) web

Sporting a striking star-shaped pattern of yellow streaks on its high-domed shell, the radiated tortoise is considered one of the world’s most beautiful tortoises. Unfortunately, its beauty makes the tortoise a target for the pet trade, which is one of the threats it faces in the wild.

Pancake Tortoise

pancake

The pancake tortoise is named for its flat and flexible shell, which helps it escape predators. The tortoise is able to squeeze into small crevices and hold on tight. By rotating the front limbs and digging it with its claws, the tortoise is very difficult for a predator to pry out.

Galápagos Tortoise

galapagos tort

With few natural predators and competitors for food, the Galápagos tortoise grew over time into the largest turtle in the world. Once a popular food source for sailors, the tortoise is now protected from hunting. Today, introduced predators are the problem. Dogs, cats, and rats eat the tortoise’s eggs and livestock compete for food.

Alligator Snapping Turtle

alligator snapping turtle

The alligator snapping turtle is the largest freshwater turtle in the world. It lies practically motionless on the bottom of a lake or river. A thick layer of algae grows on its shell to help it blend in with its habitat. Opening its mouth, it wiggles a pink worm-like tongue to lure in passing fish and—SNAP!—dinner is served.