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The Musk Turtle is an abundant and wide-ranging species that can be found along the east coast of the United States from the northeastern states down to Florida.
There is sexual dimorphism, with the males being larger with longer tails and an anal orifice or cloaca that extends further outward from the plastron.
This turtle forages by walking along the bottoms of streams or ponds, rather than swimming. It is nocturnal, not very sociable and exhibits a tendency to be aggressive. When it feels threatened, it will defend itself by releasing a foul-smelling liquid from glands located under the small marginal scutes on its back, which is why it is known as the stinky turtle. The male is particularly aggressive and will bite without hesitation if threatened. They can breed up to twice a year, when the female digs shallow nests at the edge of the body of water, under rotting leaves or logs. They mate underwater and then the female lays one to nine eggs, which will hatch 60-90 days later.
Their main threats include the trampling of breeding females as they leave the water to find an area to lay their eggs and the destruction of their habitat.