Eastern Mud Turtle

Kinosternon subrubrum


Eastern Mud Turtles can be found in a wide variety of water bodies throughout Mississippi, including ponds, lakes, ditches, and rivers. Both subspecies Mississippi mud turtle and southeastern mud turtle can be found, and the ranges meet in the middle of the state vertically where the subspecies will intergrade. Unlike musk turtles. their plastron is double-hinged. The anterior plastral plate will often exhibit a “K” shape where the sutures meet. Shells are dark brown and generally unmarked and the plastron may be yellow, orange, reddish, or brown. The heads of Mississippi Mud Turtles have light stripes, while Southeastern Muds have no striping on heads. These turtles are carnivores, eating a variety of fish, invertebrates, and small vertebrates.

Adult male mud turtle resting on a log in a piney ephemeral wetland, Harrison Co. (MS)

Identifying Traits

  • Double-hinged plastron
  • “K” shape on anterior plastron (separates from musk turtles). Not present in all individuals

Subspecies Present:

Mississippi Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum hippocrepis);

Southeastern Mud Turtle (Kinosternon subrubrum subrubrum)


Nearly any body of water 



Highly aquatic species that forages on aquatic invertebrates, males may have large head


Aquatic invertebrates and small vertebrates

Adult foraging in a flooded wetland, South Mississippi