Yellow Mud Turtle: Ultimate Guide

If you are looking for a great turtle as a beginner, yellow mud turtle is a fantastic option to consider. They are fascinating creatures that are certainly worth learning more about. They are a low maintenance breed to consider, and are superb animals to care for.

In this article, we will be talking you through everything you need to know about yellow mud turtles. We will be focusing on things such as their size, overall costs, identifications, and diet, to provide you with the ultimate guide on this breed of turtle. 

Males Vs Female

When looking at the male and female yellow mud turtles, they are not too dissimilar on the whole, especially in comparison to the differences between other breeds of turtle. However, there are some differences to take into consideration. 

The male yellow mud turtles are typically larger than the females and have tails that are thicker and larger too. In addition to this, the female’s tail does not have a blunt spine at the tip, whereas the male’s tail does. 


As the name suggests, you are able to identify a yellow mud turtle by its color. This turtle has yellow markings on its head, neck, sides, and also its throat. When looking at its shell, it is also yellow. However, it can vary from a brighter yellow to a darker yellow that is almost brown in its color. 

The rest of the turtle is an olive green, and the plastron has two hinges, which allow  them to close each end together or individually. Some yellow mud turtles will have a creamier coloring on their body.

As a Pet

As we discussed in our introduction, the yellow mud turtle is a great option to consider for a pet. Due to them being very easy to look after, they are great for those who are beginners. They will give you a good experience of owning a turtle, and their care and upkeep is fairly minimal. 

They are a low maintenance breed, though they do live for a significant amount of time. As a result of this, you will need to keep this in mind when considering purchasing them. 


The lifespan of the yellow mud turtle is not too long in comparison to other types of turtle. However, it is still a significant amount of time. On average, a yellow mud turtle will live for up to 40 years.

When you take this into consideration, they are an animal that requires serious commitment. You will need to be sure of this commitment before purchasing. 


The yellow mud turtle is seasonally diurnal. This means that in the colder months, they will hibernate. This is something that is important to remember. They will bury themselves underground during these months. This allows them to survive the colder months, and remain safe from predators in the wild. 

Breeding Season

The breeding season of the yellow mud turtle is similar to many other turtles in that it occurs during the warmer months. When you take into consideration that these turtles hibernate during the colder months, this is to be expected. 

The months that the breeding occurs are predominantly between April and May predominantly. However, they are also known to breed in September too. They will breed between the months of June and July. 


The female yellow mud turtles will lay between 6 and 8 eggs at a time. However, they do not always lay these eggs in the same nest, this is because of potential predators, and the need to keep the eggs safe. Instead, they tend to split up the eggs into multiple nests to protect them as much as possible. 

The female will dig a cavity up to 5 inches in depth, and deposit the eggs. They will then take around 75 days to hatch, and the eggs are relatively small. 

Growth Rate

When it comes to the overall size of yellow mud turtles, they are not overly large, especially when looking at the size of the females. They will reach to around 4 inches in size at the most, and they grow fairly slowly.

As they are a much smaller species of turtle, they are easier to keep as pets. When they are hatchlings, they are around 18 to 30 mm in size, which is very small. The average weight of a yellow mud turtle is around 3 ounces (0.11 kg) to 9.3 ounces (0.35 kg).

Life Cycle

When it comes to the life cycle of a yellow mud turtle, there are a few different requirements that this species needs. They require a place to hibernate which can usually be found upland, they need a wetland, and access to water, and they also need a sanded area. They use the sanded area when they are dormant in the summer months.

The yellow mud turtles do age fairly quickly when you take into consideration that they live for 40 years. They are sexually mature at around 7 years, for both the males and females. 


It is important to note that yellow mud turtles are an endangered species. As a result of this, great care needs to be taken if you spot one in its natural habitat. In states such as Missouri and Iowa, they are endangered, and can only be found in certain reserves.

In Iowa, there are around 3,000 yellow mud turtles on private preserves. In places such as Illinois, Nebraska, and northern Mexico, there have also been declines in the population too. 


The yellow mud turtle is mainly a carnivore. Their primary source of food comes from animals such as macro-invertebrates, crayfish, small fish and snails. However, if there are no other options available, they will also eat duckweed.

In the wild, they often struggle to find the species they need to eat, and thus are a species of concern. If you own a yellow mud turtle, you can also feed it worms and other small animals that are found near ponds, too.

To bulk out their feeding, turtle pellets and complete food is a great addition. This will provide the turtle with all the nutrients it needs.


Yellow mud turtles are prone to predators, especially during the hibernation months. This is why it is so important for them to ensure that they are able to find a safe location and shelter in order to survive. 

There are many predators that are known, both on land and in the water, which is partly why this species is becoming endangered and a species of concern. Some of these predators include alligators, raccoons, and herons. 

Roaming Range

The roaming range of the yellow mud turtle is surprisingly vast. It is based mainly in the continent of America. However, yellow mud turtles in captivity can be found in homes and zoos across the globe.

The main area yellow mud turtles inhabit is northern Mexico and the southwest states of the USA. Some of these include Arizona, Nebraska, Kansas, and Texas. 


Yellow mud turtles are prone to diseases. Care does need to be taken given that they are endangered. One of the main diseases this breed is susceptible to is carapacial shell disease. 

This is a disease that can affect a lot of turtles that are aquatic, and it is something that needs to be kept a close eye on. It is a progressive disease that does get worse over time, and will affect the bones.

Eye Color

The eye color of the yellow mud turtle is typically black and dark yellow. Some will have a slightly red tinge to the color of their eyes.


As we have already covered, yellow mud turtles do enter a state of hibernation over the winter months, from around November to April. In addition to this, they will also enter summer dormancy, for a few months, too. The dormancy is similar to hibernation, but is less severe. 

Can They Swim?

Yes, yellow mud turtles can swim, though, this is not their forte. They do remain in the water for a long time, but during the summer months, they will seek locations outside the water. They do not tend to use deep water, and prefer shallow water. 


This species is fairly easy to care for, but you will need to ensure that they are living in the correct environment. They need at least a 40-gallon tank. The tank needs to have both water and dry areas that resemble land. They need to be able to dive, and roam freely. They also need enough space to hibernate, too. 


These turtles are fairly inexpensive to purchase and will cost up to $50. However, their set-up can become quite costly. You will need to take these costs into consideration, in addition to general upkeep, care, vets bills, and food too. 

Fun Facts 

  • This species of turtle has a carapace that is high- domed.
  • They are quite friendly, and are easy to look after.