Striped Mud Turtle: Ultimate Guide

The striped mud turtle, one of nature’s most marvelous reptiles. This amphibious creature is one of the more docile of the box turtles, with a lovely temperament that won’t upset your terrarium. These turtles make a great pet for an older child who might have the patience to care for them.

You must be sure that if you are going to buy a striped mud turtle, that you need to have an intermediate knowledge of animal care. This animal needs both land and water, so make sure that you have enough space for it to roam around.

If you provoke this animal, it does tend to bite you with its sharp beak. This can easily slice through your finger, so when handling it, make sure to place your hands near the bottom end. However, these creatures are very low maintenance and will eat and drink themselves.

But where can you find one of these creatures? How much food will your turtle need? How fast will it grow and can you be sure that it will fit into your enclosure? How many of these creatures are left in the wild? When do they breed? Are they suitable for a family pet? How much will it cost to keep one of these animals?

Well, if you want to know the answers to these questions and more, then you should read on. We give you all the info you need for this critter, from breeding to feeding to lifespan. After reading this article, you’ll be able to consider yourself a veritable expert in the striped mud turtle.

Male Vs. Female

This turtle has a very unique oval shape that you can easily spot from 20 paces. Like a lot of turtles of this breed, the female is twice the size of the male. The male striped mud turtle is around 5 inches in length, while the female can grow up to 10, even 11 inches in length.

The females have a much larger head than the males, with a brown outer carapace that helps it blend in with the muddy banks that breed, fights and sleeps in. It has a darker brown/green body that also helps it camouflage.


The carapace of this turtle is a kind of olive-brown and the shape of it is much more oval than some other breeds of turtle. This creature has much longer legs that also help it to wade through the thick mud. The females have long claws that help them excavate mud for when they lay their eggs.

The female turtles have larger heads and stripes on the back that might not be visible in certain lighting situations.

As a Pet

This turtle is very timid and can snap at you if you don’t handle it properly. We would recommend that you stick near the bottom end of this turtle, as it can give you a nasty nip on the fingers.

This creature is very low maintenance. If you keep it in an outdoor enclosure, all you have to do is make sure that it gets a regular stream of insects. This turtle will eat ground beef, fish and dog food. However, it is always good to make it catch around 50% of its own food.


In captivity, this turtle can live up to 50 years and has been stated to last around 40 years in the wild. This is because in the wild this creature is susceptible to a lot more predators. The females tend to live a lot longer than the males, on average of around 45 years.


This turtle has developed its unique shell to escape predators. It can retreat quickly into it if it feels like it is under threat, although most of the time it would prefer to run away from a predator before going into its shell.

This turtle has a high sensitivity to the chemical content of its water, so make sure that you check the Ph level of the water before introducing your turtle to its enclosure.

Breeding Season

This turtle will want to start breeding around late spring and early summer, through the months of Aril through until July. The males will often become much more aggressive during these months, so if you are raising a few in captivity, you should try and keep them away from each other.


The female striped mud turtle will lay around 1-4 eggs during the summer and early autumn season. The hatchling will be active as soon as they hatch, from around mid-October.

The female will lay around 3 clutches of these eggs around the year, depositing them in sandy, loamy soil and covering them up to protect them from predators. The eggs tend to incubate for 76 days, although this can depend on the temperature.

Growth Rate

This turtle will grow very quickly and will be near a full adult after around 1 year. The males are more sexually active than the female, usually reaching their peak sexual maturity after around 3 years.

Life Cycle

In captivity, you can expect these turtles to last you around 50 years. These make great family companions and will be around right up until your children are adults. We would recommend that you add some food artificially into your turtle’s cage, even if they are in an outdoor enclosure where insects and plants are in abundance.


This turtle is not considered to be too endangered, although changes to this animal’s habitat are slowly reducing its numbers. Pet hunting is also another reason that these turtles are being reduced in number, however, conservationists are making efforts to increase the number of these turtles.

Another reason for the decimation of the striped mud turtle is because they are often hidden under the leaves and mud. This means that they are often not seen by hikers and get stepped on.


The turtles are omnivores and they will eat anything from algae to worms to small fish that swim around in the bottom of river beds. They are also known to eat large snails. This is the main source of the turtle’s protein.

They will eat dark greens such as salad and lettuce, so you should make sure that it gets a healthy supply of this every day if you are raising it in captivity.


Common predators of this animal in the wild are alligators, herons and fish crows. These animals are often poached by humans to be used as pets. There are also large fish such as bass that will occasionally make a lunge for the striped mud turtle if it is too near the river bank.

Roaming Range

This turtle does not go that far, preferring to wallow around in the mud for hours at a time. You should make sure that your enclosure has at least 4 x 4 feet of space.


This animal is susceptible to parasites. You should take it to the vet regularly to check that none have burrowed under the skin. Treatable diseases are ear infections, intestinal parasites and metabolic bone issues.

Eye Color

These turtles have brown eyes, although the females have been said to have slightly more yellow in them.


These turtles have adapted to survive in the hotter weather, although they will become less active if the weather gets colder. This is not the same as hibernation that mammals do, as there is no reduction in heart rate.

Can They Swim?

These turtles are not fond of swimming as some other breeds of turtles, although they do occasionally enter the water to hunt for small fish. You can often find this animal in the mud trying to keep cool or hunting through the leaves for insects and small frogs.

If you have an enclosure you’ll need to make sure that you have both land and water available, as the striped mud turtles like to alternate between the two. We would recommend that you also find some shaded area and leaves, as this turtle is not as prone to basking as other species.

Care Costs

You can expect to buy this turtle for as much as $50 at your local pet store. However, they are not as common as some of the other turtles that you can find. Make sure that you have at least $30 a month put aside for the turtle’s maintenance, excluding veterinary bills.

Fun Facts

  • This turtle is one of the smallest of the box turtles, only growing to around 4 inches in length.
  • This turtle has a rust-covered shell, which is what it uses to conceal itself from predators.