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Striped mud turtle
- Kinosternon baurii

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The Striped mud turtle inhabits stagnant and slow-flowing waters of all kinds, including temporary.
striped bog turtle
Kinosternon baurii au Vivarium Elapsoidea (Meyrin, Geneva, Switzerland) – Totodu74, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Origin / Distribution

The Striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii) is native to the southeastern United States. The main distribution area is the Florida panhandle, but the species is also present in the coastal lowlands of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Virginia. In general, the species is considered common and not endangered, and is not subject to trade restrictions or species protection laws. But, the local population of the Florida Keys is threatened by the destruction of the biotope and, therefore, has been placed under protection in the United States. Trade has no impact on natural populations.

Characteristics / Appearance

The Striped mud turtle it has an oval shape and a dark brown or black shell. The skin is dark and the underside of the shell is slightly yellowish.. In most places in Florida, animals have stripes on their shells that give them their names. But, there are regions where these turtles continue to have signs of these stripes or do not have any. this is known, for example, by populations of the Everglades.

These reptiles usually have two distinct stripes on their heads on each side.. This goes practically through the eye to the tip of the nose. Females have longer tails that are slightly bent at the end.. It is assumed that this fold serves to better cling to the female when courting and mating..

With a maximum shell length of only 12 cm in females, males are even smaller, about 10 cm., this turtle is really small. These are already record dimensions; females reach sexual maturity when they measure about 7-8 cm long and have 5-6 years.


The Striped mud turtle inhabits stagnant and slow-flowing waters of all kinds, including temporary. If such a pond dries up, animals change habitat. Migrations of up to 3,5 km. They also look for the preferred places for laying eggs.. Thus, the Striped mud turtle, is unfortunately a frequent victim in road traffic.


These little turtles are omnivorous by nature and feed on palm seeds, algae, insects, snails and the like. For its part, They are common prey for alligators and birds of prey such as the snail kite.. The small hatchlings and eggs are eaten by a large number of animals, which the turtles compensate with a very high reproductive rate.

A female can produce up to six (normally: three) broods per year with 1-6 (normally: 2-3) eggs each. The eggs are huge compared to the mother, one wonders how they fit in little mama. Eggs need between 80 and 145 days to mature, and only grow at temperatures between 28 y 30ºC. If the temperature drops to 22.5-24°C, the embryo pauses in its development. The pups measure between 2 and 2,5 cm in length and weigh between 2,1 and 3,9 g..

The "Striped mud turtle" in captivity

Striped mud turtle
This Striped mud turtle (Kinosternon baurii) was one of six mud turtles observed on two islands in the Florida Keys during a survey in January 2016. This listed reptile is one of seven species targeted during this study. Foto de Jonathan Mays – Flickr


The minimum size of the aquaterrarium for the care of a single animal is three times the length of the carapace as the length of the tank, one and a half times the length of the shell as the width of the tank and two times the height of the shell as the water level. For a single animal this means (with a maximum carapace length of 12 cm.) a background surface of 36 x 18 cm with a water level of about 10-12 cm.. But, you will hardly be able to keep a turtle in such a small aquarium. But, a standard aquarium of 60 cm is absolutely sufficient to create a well-structured living environment for the little turtle. The following principles are very important: The Striped mud turtle climb and run instead of swimming. So, the water surface must always be easily accessible and the water level must not exceed 20 cm..

Aquaterrarium decoration

Waterproof roots and round stones are suitable for furnishings. The substrate should consist of a layer of fine sand of about 5 height cm, since animals like to dig. Many specimens only come out of the water to lay their eggs.. But, this varies greatly from one individual to another and, therefore, must be tested: add a piece of floating decorative cork to the tank. If you visit this part of land, a fixed part of earth must be installed, which may consist of a plastic bowl suspended and filled with sand, for example.


On the ground part can be installed a weak focus under which a temperature of 30-35°C is reached. The uv need of these turtles is low; a commercially available fluorescent terrarium tube with a UV component is perfectly suitable. A too bright location of the aquaterrarium should be avoided.


The water temperature should oscillate between 22 and 26°C from February to November, with 14 daylight hours. A hibernation period of about two months with only a few 8 daylight hours (this is much more decisive for the start of hibernation, that is regulated by hormones, than temperature) at 12-15°C is very favorable for keeping turtles healthy for many years and for reproduction.

Individual maintenance, as a couple or in a group?

In principle, It is best to keep all swamp turtles alone. The males are very incompatible with each other and can drive the females crazy by their constant willingness to mate.. Females also prostitute themselves sometimes with violence against each other. But, this varies greatly from individual to individual. You can be very lucky and buy a pair that will get along very well, but unfortunately you can't trust it. Sometimes, the animals only split up after years of peaceful coexistence. This is said to occur even in humans…

In principle, you should have as many tanks as animals you want to have, so you can elegantly avoid all difficulties from the beginning and you can react quickly if necessary.

for breeding, the female is put with the male, which usually bears fruit very quickly. In this way we have a fertilization rate of almost 100%, while annoying females often do not take care of themselves if they are kept together for a long time.

Unlike many other reptiles, females are not at all demanding when it comes to laying eggs. They gladly accept the sand-filled dirt area described above. At worst, they will simply lay the eggs in the water, but don't let it go to that extreme. By the way, females that stand alone also produce eggs (unfertilized, of course). It's like with chickens, they don't need a rooster to produce eggs for breakfast.

Turtles and fish

Video Kinosternon Baurii

Tortue Kinosternon Baurii

The most exciting and beautiful thing is to keep the turtles together with the fish.. First of all, the aquarium becomes more attractive - there are more things in it- and, in the second place, fish realize very quickly when something goes wrong in the water. The right species for the biotope are, for example, the Jordanella floridae (Jordanella floridae), the Least killifish (Heterandria formosa), the Blackbanded sunfish (Enneacathus chaetodon) or the Everglades pygmy sunfish (Elassoma evergladei).

If you are lucky enough to have the Sailfin molly (Poecilia latipinna), You will see how these creatures, otherwise delicate, become authentic beauties. For reasons that are still unknown, the Sailfin molly they develop exceptionally well when kept next to turtles. Of course, the selection of fish species is not limited to those mentioned. Only the slow fish that live on the bottom, as the Whiptail catfish (Rineloricaria fallax, etc.), should not live with turtles. As a rule, fish are safe from small shell carriers; at most, weak or sick specimens become their victims, but that doesn't matter.


The Striped mud turtle is more carnivorous than omnivorous. It is advisable to grow duckweed, especially the large species Spirodela polyrhiza, in the tank. Like this, they are simply available as food when turtles feel like vegetarian food. Otherwise, feeding is very easy, because Kinosternon baurii is not demanding. But, food should always be absolutely fresh and of high quality. It doesn't matter if it's industrially produced food for swamp and water turtles or frozen food..

Vitamins and valuable unsaturated fatty acids are destroyed more quickly than many people realize. Here we continue to sin a lot. Always buy food in small containers. Dry food should be consumed at the latest 6 weeks after opening the can, and frozen food after about half a year. Dry food should never be stored in a bright place, warm and humid. They should always be stored in an airtight container, in a dark and cool place.

If properly cared for, these friendly dwarfs hardly cause problems and give years of pleasure to their caregiver.

Buy one "Striped mud turtle"

The price of a "Striped mud turtle" ranges between 130 – 160 EUR.

Videos "Striped mud turtle"

kinosternon baurii baby in mini aquaterrarium

Primo Ingresso in Acquario Kinosternon Baurii

Alternative names:

1. Striped mud turtle (English).
2. Tortue de boue rayée (French).
3. Dreistreifen-Klappschildkröte (German).
4. Tartaruga de lama listrada (Portuguese).
5. "Tortuga de pantano rayada" (español).

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