Loggerhead Musk

By Phil

 

SCIENTIFIC NAME

Sternotherus minor

ADULT SIZE

Up to  4 - 5.5

DIET

In the wild, it feeds on aquatic snails and insects, craw dads. Adult males specialize on mollusk and develop enlarged powerful jaws to crush them.

TEMPERATURE RANGE (F)

Air Temperature:  75 - 83

Basking Temperature:  Mid 80's to low 90's

Water Temperature:  Mid to High 70's

HABITAT

Inhabits the  large clear springs, and spring runs of  Florida, often times 15' or more down.

DISTRIBUTION

North Florida and parts of Georgia.

BEGINNER TURTLE

Yes

CAPTIVE HABITAT

Being more aquatic than the closely related mud turtles, loggerhead musk prefer a greater sized water area. Loggerhead musk are well able to thrive in deep water habitat. Though infrequent baskers, ample opportunity to do so is important. A spotlight over their basking area will be utilized. This area can be in the form of a rock projecting from the water, or in the case of young specimens, floating aquatic plants are preferred. Much like the stinkpot, loggerheads are a very outgoing and responsive turtle, with little of the shyness of the razorback.

RECOMMENDED ENCLOSURE

A thirty gallon aquaria is sufficient for the loggerhead musk. The addition of more than a single specimen would require the keeper to adjust the enclosure size accordingly. As always, when possible, more room is always better. These are active turtles, and they will utilize the space offered. Strong filtration is advised, as these are messy feeders, and water quality is often compromised if filtration is not adequate. Either a bare bottom or river pebble substrate is suitable for this species. If given a choice, river pebbles are preferred as these turtles like to forage on the bottom. Though a southern species, extremes of temperature are best avoided. As inhabitants of springs that maintain a more or less constant temperature, extreme temperature either on the low or high side may be stressful.

CAPTIVE DIET

In captivity, Does well on high quality turtle pellets such as Mazuri and ReptoMin, as well as earth worms, crawdads and feeder fish on occasion.

COMMUNITY HABITAT

Given ample space, loggerhead's do very well in community settings. Painted turtles, sliders and cooters are good choices as tank mates. Loggerhead's are well able to live in the deeper water that these basking species require, and usually coexist peacefully provided the size difference of the inhabitants is not pronounced. Caution is advised when maintaining any musk turtles together with their own kind or closely related species. Aggression between rival males, or with unreceptive females often results. As with mud turtles, these situations should be monitored closely. As with all musk turtles, but to a greater extent, loggerheads should be handled with caution. Their powerful jaws are very capable of producing an unpleasant experience for their keeper if handled carelessly.

OTHER INFORMATION

Unlike other musk turtles, the Loggerhead appears to be diurnal. This is probably an adaptation to its habitat, where the water temperatures in the springs maintain a constant temperature (in the low 70's) year round. A very personable and responsive turtle.