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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Freshwater Turtles Habitat (River Scout)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in North America from middle Texas and southern Oklahoma through Arkansas and southern Mississippi.
  • Most often found in streams and river systems with gravel or sandy substrate. Also found in lakes and swamps. The razorback musk turtle appears to prefer habitats with the presence of dead wood for basking and hiding under.

Physical Characteristics

  • Razorback musk turtle ranges in color from olive green to shades of gray and tan. The head and feet are usually marked with darker speckling or streaking, and the carapace is similarly marked.
  • A high, strong ridge or “dorsal keel,” is an identifying feature of this species. It is especially noticeable in hatchlings and juveniles.
  • Carapace is commonly 5.1 – 6.3 inches (13 – 16cm) long with a maximum size of 8.3 inches (20.9 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of fish, snails, crustaceans, clams and aquatic insects.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Reproductive maturity is reached between the ages of four to eight years, at a size of about 3.0 - 4.7 (8 - 12 cm). 
  • Females typically produce two or three clutches per year. A single clutch usually consists of one to seven eggs. 
  • Hatchlings range in length from 0.9 to 1.1 inches (25 - 28 mm). 

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Also called the “keeled musk turtle.”
  • A popular turtle for home aquarists due to its small size and ease of care.


Conant, Roger and Joseph T. Collins. A Field Guide to Reptiles & Amphibians: Eastern/Central North America