Tiny turtles are causing a stink at aquarium

A stinkpot turtle
A stinkpot turtle

A PAIR of tiny turtles with a smelly reputation has gone on display at Blue Reef Aquarium.

The common musk, or stinkpot, turtle is found throughout parts of Canada and the United States.

The turtles, which only reach a maximum length of 14 centimetres, have earned their noxious nickname as a result of their highly efficient defence mechanism; when attacked by predators the turtles release a foul smelling musk from their undersides.

This has led to the species being known as ‘stinkpots’.

The pair were donated to the Rock-a-Nore Road wildlife attraction by a member of the public who was no longer able to look after them and have gone on display in a special shallow freshwater tank.

Blue Reef’s Leanna Lawson said: “Stinkpots are one of the most aquatic types of freshwater turtle. They spend virtually all their time in the water, only usually coming out to lay eggs.

“However they do occasionally climb up in to trees and on to overhanging branches and there are reports of them actually falling into to passing boats – much to the alarm of passengers!

“Despite their small size, they can also be quite aggressive and will not hesitate to bite if they feel harassed or threatened. This is potentially problematic when handling them as their relatively long and highly flexible necks mean they can reach as far as their hind legs. They mainly feed on insects, tadpoles, aquatic snails, clams and even crayfish although as they mature they tend to become more vegetarian in their diet.”

Their lifespan, as with most turtles, is quite long, with specimens in captivity being recorded at more than 50 years of age.