Mount Saint-√Čtienne slopes natural area (Photo by NCC)

Mount Saint-√Čtienne slopes natural area (Photo by NCC)

Musk turtle (Photo by Dawson)

Musk turtle (Photo by Dawson)

Eastern musk turtle

Sometimes referred to as the "stinkpot" turtle, this species emits a strong odour, especially when it is frightened.


These are small freshwater turtles measuring a maximum length of 14 centimetres. Their arched, narrow carapaces are gray, brown or black. Musk turtles can be identified by the two light stripes on either side of their head and two fleshy barbels under the chin, similar to a catfish.

Canadian distribution of eastern musk turtle (Map by NCC)

(Click on the image to enlarge)


Eastern musk turtles can be found in southern Ontario and some areas in Quebec. They live in shallow rivers, lakes and ponds with a slow current and soft bottom.

Conservation status

Musk turtles are listed as threatened.

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