...would have to smell a heck of a lot sweeter than this one!
Allow me to introduce Sternotherus odoratus, called Common Musk Turtle, or more aptly, Stinkpot.
This adult measured a tad over 4 inches, right in the middle of this species 3 to 5.5 inch size range. Diminutive little fellow, but with a powerful stench! This one smelled sort of like burnt rubber...
...the smell emanating from an odoriferous ooze produced by its "musk" glands. Yep, it's that icky brown stuff on the left, just above the opening for the hind leg. You really have to experience it for yourself to truly appreciate its potency. Of course, it doesn't seem to bother that leech attached to the plastron right along the mid-line.
Despite their odor, stinkpots are pretty cool little turtles. They prefer bodies of water with nice soft bottoms and we have the perfect habitat for them here. Like most turtles, they enjoy basking, but instead of finding them out on a log, you are more likely to find them clinging to a tree trunk or resting on a branch in a bush out over the water. You generally don't expect to find a turtle four or five feet above the water, but stinkpots are agile little climbers!
They are also quite cute when they are babies. We found this little stinker yesterday. Judging by its size, I would say it hatched last year.
As you can see, he fit in the palm of my hand with plenty of room to spare.
Another interesting little tidbit about this species -- the babies are triangular in cross section.
But no matter how cute and tiny, this was one stinky little turtle.