Razor-backed musk turtle
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|Razor-backed musk turtle|
The razor-backed musk turtle grows to about 15 cm (5.9 in) in carapace length. It has a brown-colored shell, with black markings at the edges of each scute. The shell has a distinct, sharp keel down the center of its length, giving the species its common name. The body is typically grey-brown in color, with black spotting, as is the head, which tends to have a bulbous shape to it. It has a long neck, short legs, and a sharp beak. Males can usually be distinguished from females by their longer tails.
They are almost entirely aquatic, spending most of their time in shallow, heavily vegetated, slow-moving creeks, ponds, streams, and swamps. The only time they typically venture onto land is when females lay their eggs. However, both sexes bask often.
The razor-backed musk turtle is frequently kept in captivity, and is regularly captive bred. Its relatively small size, and ease of care makes it a more attractive choice as a pet turtle for many keepers, than the more commonly available red-eared slider (Trachemys scripta elegans).
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- The Reptile Database. www.reptile-database.org
- Conant R. 1975. A Field Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians of Eastern and Central North America, Second Edition. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. 429 pp. ISBN 0-395-19977-8. (Sternotherus carinatus, pp. 41, 46 (Fig. 7) + Plate 4 + Map 9).
- Smith HM, Brodie ED Jr. 1982. Reptiles of North America: A Guide to Field Identification. New York: Golden Press. 240 pp. ISBN 0-307-13666-3. (Sternotherus carinatus, pp. 28-29).
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- Gray JE. 1856. On some New Species of Freshwater Tortoises from North America, Ceylon and Australia. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., Series 2, 18: 263-268. (Aromochelys carinata, new species, p. 266).