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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Mexican Mud Turtle: 21 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Read about Mexican mud turtle facts as well as the research on their history and life here

The Mexican mud turtle (Kinosternon integrum), also known as Guanajuato mud turtle, is an aquatic species native to central and western Mexico. It is a reptile and one of the largest species in the genus Kinosternidae. The Kinosternon integrum is a poorly-studied species for only a few credible research have specifically focused on its herpetology including its history, ecology, and reproduction. Some of the major recent observations of the Mexican mud turtle will be further discussed in this article. So read on to discover all there is to know about this species of turtle. If you like reading this article about the Mexican mud turtle (Kinosternon integrum), you may also want to check out facts about the green sea turtle and the painted turtle.

Mexican Mud Turtle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Mexican mud turtle?

The Mexican mud turtle is one of the 12 species in the genus Kinosternidae and one of the only two species found in the lowlands of the central Pacific region.

What class of animal does a Mexican Mud  Turtle belong to?

The Mexican mud turtle is a reptile that belongs in the order Testudines, which are species with special bones or cartilage shell that serves as a shield. Turtles are one of the oldest creatures that are believed to exist since 215 million years ago.

How many Mexican mud turtles are there in the world?

As of 2021, there is no particular data as to how many Mexican mud turtles exist. All we know is that turtles have been one of the most threatened groups of vertebrates. In fact, around 61% of the 356 turtle species in the world are already Threatened or Extinct. Although the population of the Mexican mud turtle is said to still be abundant, herpetological experts warn that there are still risks that this species might be Endangered.

Where does a Mexican mud turtle live?

The Mexican mud turtle is endemic to central and western Mexico, which are mostly found in shallow ponds, lakes, rivers, or tropical forest areas. They live at an altitude range between sea level and 7874 ft (2400 m).

What is a Mexican mud turtle's habitat?

Being aquatic species, Mexican mud turtles are inhabitants of various bodies of water where clean and oxygenated water is apparent. They also make their home through sandy and muddy areas where they hide in mud to rest.

Who do Mexican mud turtles live with?

Like other turtle species, the Mexican mud turtles are mostly solitary but were observed to be in pairs during mating season.

How long does a Mexican mud turtle live?

Although there is no specific data on the longevity of Mexican mud turtles in the wild, the Kinosternon integrum was recorded to have lived for almost 19 years in captivity. More often than not, mud turtles are said to have a life expectancy of 50 years.

How do they reproduce?

Like other turtle species, the reproductive habits of the Mexican mud turtle are seasonal and correlated with weather change. The breeding season of this species starts just before the rainy season, in early May, and ends around September. However, Chelonian Conservation and Biology states that the reproduction timeline of K. integrum starts in late June and ends in late October, similar to the freshwater turtles in North America. The same study observed the population of Mexican mud turtles in Tonatico, Mexico (Tonatico estado de México). Rodrigo Macip-Ríos and Gustavo Casas-Andreu et. al. (2006) found that the average clutch size in Tonatico estado de México was four eggs, which is slightly lower than the findings of Iverson (1999) of 5.8 eggs.

Supporting the research of Iverson (1999), Chelonian Conservation and Biology further concluded that there is a positive relationship between the body and clutch size of Mexican mud turtles in Tonatico estado de México. On the other hand, there is a negative relationship between the clutch size and the egg size. This means that bigger females produce more eggs and the more eggs in a clutch would result in smaller egg size. Such a characteristic is true with other freshwater turtles and other ectotherm species like lizards and snakes.

What is their conservation status?

The Mexican mud turtle (Kinosternon integrum) is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN. However, Chelonian Conservation and Biology have raised debates on the conservation status of freshwater and terrestrial turtles, including the Kinosternon integrum. It states that the current status of these species should be reviewed and that it is necessary that the Federal Government collaborate with a herpetological specialist group. (Macip-Ríos et. al., 2015)

Some of the most notable people who studied and fought for the conservation of Kinosternon integrum in Mexico are: Rodrigo Macip-Ríos, Víctor Hugo Sustaita-Rodríguez, Gabriel Barrios-Quiroz and Gustavo Casas-Andeu, Xóchitl Aguilar-Miguel, Angeles Aparicio, Ivette Enríquez Mercado, Alejandro Montiel Ugalde, Eder Gaona-Murillo, and Taggert Butterfield.

Mexican Mud Turtle Fun Facts

What do Mexican mud turtles look like?

Mud turtles are relatively smaller than other turtle species. The upper shell that serves as their shield is called carapace, while the lower shell that covers their belly is called plastron. The shell is a mix of brown, black, and olive green colors, which allows them to camouflage well in their habitat.

The reproductive season of Mexican mud turtles starts before the rainy season.

How cute are they?

Mexican mud turtles can be really cute especially watching them move at a very slow pace.

How do they communicate?

Being solitary species, Mexican mud turtles are not so sociable and would often not mind other turtles or animals around them. But, they do have great sight and sense of smell. They communicate with each other through various sounds and electric motors. Mating pairs were observed to travel together during mating season. Courting habits include head-bobbing, biting, and leg movements.

How big is a Mexican mud turtle?

A Mexican mud turtle measures just a little bigger than an iPhone! Its average length is 6 in (15 cm), but males are found to be generally larger than females. In fact, the biggest male species with a carapace length of 8.7 in (22 cm) was recorded in Tonatico.

How fast can a Mexican mud turtle move?

Turtles are known to be very slow species. They just move a little quicker when they go after their prey.

How much does a Mexican mud turtle weigh?

The average weight of the Mexican mud turtle is 0.66 lb (300 g). The males are heavier than the females.

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no given names for the male and female turtles.

What would you call a baby Mexican mud turtle?

A baby turtle is called a hatchling.

What do they eat?

Mexican mud turtles are natural omnivore species. Their alimentary habits, or nutrition methods, include a variety of plant and animal matter that is present in their habitat such as algae, grass, seeds, ants, wasps, bees, tadpoles, frogs, toads among others. Males are mostly carnivores throughout the year. Meanwhile, during dry seasons, females shift their diet to mostly plants and would only eat more animals during the rainy seasons. Although it is not clear why only females shift their diet, these feeding or alimentary habits are significant in understanding the ecology of animals for these may be related to their history, lifestyle, and reproduction.

Are they dangerous?

No matter what their sex is, turtles are timid and not harmful or aggressive. However, they do tend to bite if attacked or provoked, especially individuals in captivity. Also, these animals may carry salmonella that can be easily transmitted to people.

Would they make a good pet?

Mud turtles are quite popular among pet enthusiasts for it is known to be of low maintenance to keep. However, herpetology and naturalist experts suggest that it is best to keep them in the wild to protect their population.

Did you know...

The Mexican mud turtle is a bet-hedging animal which means that its fitness level change based on the environmental conditions it is living in. In a relaxed environment, the fitness level of the Mexican mud turtle is typically low and would otherwise increase when faced with stressful conditions. Such bet-hedging trait also affects their reproductive cycle causing them to reproduce only every two to three seasons. This characteristic allows the Mexican mud turtle to conserve energy for survival and growth than reproduction.

What is unique about the Mexican mud turtle?

The Mexican mud turtle has the broadest distribution in all of Mexico. This species is sex dimorphic, which means that there are notable differences between males and females. Not only that males are larger than females in terms of size but, their nostrils are also distinct. The female mud turtles have more rounded and darker nostrils than the males.

How did the Mexican mud turtle get its name?

The Mexican mud turtle derived its name from being endemic to Mexico. It is called Guanajuato mud turtle because it was first discovered in Guanajuato, Mexico. This species is also present in regions throughout the country including Aguascalientes, Colima, Durango, Guerrero, Hidalgo among others.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other reptiles from our hawksbill sea turtle facts and leatherback sea turtle facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable Mexican mud turtle coloring pages.

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