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Turtles/identifying a hatchling



I found a turtle on the side of the road in Kentucky and I need help identifying it. It is about the size of a quarter and it is charcoal gray maybe even black in color. it has three bumps on the center of the top shell going straight down the back. the lower shell is outlined in yellow that is the only other color on the turtle. Please help so we know how to care for it. Thank u in advance

Hi Krissy,

Based on the pictures, I think it's an Eastern mud turtle, or at least a mud turtle species.  However, rather than attempting to keep the turtle, you should return it to a safe area close to where you found it.  The wild populations need offspring to remain in the wild to keep species viable.  Once you keep this hatchling in captivity, it can never be returned to the wild.  Captive bred hatchlings of most North American species are readily available.  If you're interested in keeping a turtle as a pet, I'd suggest researching species and then looking for a CB hatchling of your choice.  Keep in mind that even smaller species require fairly large tanks (minimum size really should be no less than 50 gallons, and some species can require as much as 100-150 gallons) with excellent filtration and basking/UVB lighting, as well as a good diet (pellets, greens, and animal protein).  Most problems I see are due to people keeping them in small tanks with poor filtration, no UVB, and a pellet-only diet, so providing proper housing conditions is really critical.  As for this particular turtle, it really should go back to the wild where it belongs.  


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Questions regarding husbandry of Russian tortoises and other Mediterranean species, sulcata, and redfoot tortoises; general tortoise and turtle care; box turtle care. If I can't answer a specific question, I can provide sources for further research. Disclaimer: My advice is not a substitute for vet care. If I think your tortoise/turtle has a specific medical condition or injury that warrants a vet visit, I'll tell you so, and if possible I'll help you locate a vet. It is neither legal nor ethical for me to provide veterinary advice.


I have kept and bred Russian tortoises for over ten years and have other Mediterranean species plus redfoots and box turtles. I've worked with other tortoise and turtle species while doing volunteer rescue work; mostly sulcata but some leopards, California desert tortoises, yellowfoots, all box turtle species, red-eared sliders, etc. I don't personally keep aquatic species, but have access to a wealth of information and research to help you with any questions you might have.

My knowledge is based on hands-on experience keeping, breeding, and working with tortoises and turtles.

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