This was a pleasant surprise. With the lake level low, I’ve been walking the beach from the point (segment 3-4) almost back to the pedestrian bridge (segment 1). One of the inlets, about midway along segment 2, has water running into the lake.
I spied this little fellow. It was either an Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum) or a Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus). I can never remember which.
The pattern on its carapace
I did know that I had to get a photo of its plastron (underside) to be able to identify it.
I turned it back over and waited to see if it would make its way back to the water. It poked the tip of its nose out but that was all. I was going to have to provide transportation back to the water.
The obligatory portrait. You can just see its eye to the left midway between the nostrils and mouth. The tips of its toes are just visible in the lower left of the photo.
Back in the water.
I didn’t realize how fast they could move. It took off up the waterway and swam in under this cover of algae. If I had passed this way a few minutes earlier or later I might have missed it.
When I got home, I was able to identify it as a Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus). Given that musk turtles may release a pungent musk odor when irritated, this little guy was very tolerant of my interfering with whatever it was doing when I happened on it.
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Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, University of Georgia: Turtles of Georgia and South Carolina
- Common Musk Turtle (Sternotherus odoratus)
- Eastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum)