S. minor minor - Loggerhead Musk Turtle
Habitat an ecology. Sternotherus minor is mainly carnivorous, feeding on a variety of aquatic invertebrates when young but shifting to a diet dominated by freshwater snails and clams as they grow. In ssp. minor, males mature at about three to
six years of age at about 2-2.5” / 5.5-6.0 cm carapace length (CL), and may reach up to 4.5” / 12 cm CL. Females mature at about five to eight years of age at about 2.5-3.5” / 7.0-8.0 cm CL; females grow slightly larger than males, reaching
5.5” / 14.5 cm CL. Florida females of subspecies S. minor produce about three (one to five) clutches of about 3.3 (on to five) eggs, for an annual output of 6-12 eggs. Hatchlings measure 1” / 22-27 mm CL and about 3 g. Longevity may exceed 20 years;
Generation length is unknown.
Distribution. Sternotherus minor living from southwestern Virginia, eastern Tennessee, and central Georgia south to central Florida and west to the Pearl River system in southern-central Mississippi.
Captive habitat. Sternotherus minor minor / Loggerhead musk prefer a greater sized water area. Loggerhead musk are well able to thrive in deep water habitat. Though infrequent baskers, ample opportunity to do so is important. A spotlight over their
basking area will be utilized. This area can be in the form of a rock projecting from the water, or in the case of young specimens, floating aquatic plants are preferred. Much like the stinkpot, loggerheads are a very outgoing and responsive turtle, with little
of the shyness of the razorback.
Diet. In the wild, it feeds on aquatic snails and insects, craw dads. Adult males specialize on mollusk and develop enlarged powerful jaws to crush them. In captivity, Does well on high quality turtle
pellets such as Mazuri and Reptomin, as well as earth worms, crawdads and feeder fish on occasion.
Temperature range. Air Temperature: 75° - 83°F. / 24-28C. Basking Temperature: Mid 80's to low 90's F. / 28-34C. Water Temperature:
Mid to High 70's F. / 24-26C.Recommended enclosurea.
30 gallon /120 liter aquaria is sufficient for the loggerhead musk. The addition of more than a single specimen would require the keeper to adjust the enclosure size accordingly.
As always, more room is always better. These are active turtles, and they will utilize the space offered. Strong filtration is advised, as these are messy feeders, and water quality is often compromised if filtration is not adequate. Either a bare bottom or
river pebble substrate is suitable for this species. If given a choice, river pebbles are preferred as these turtles like to forage on the bottom. Though a southern species, extremes of temperature are best avoided. As inhabitants of springs that maintain
a more or less constant temperature, extreme temperature either on the low or high side may be stressful.
Community habitat. Given ample space, loggerhead's do very well in community settings. Painted turtles, sliders and cooters are
good choices as tank mates. Loggerhead's are well able to live in the deeper water that these basking species require, and usually coexist peacefully provided the size difference of the inhabitants is not pronounced. Caution is advised when maintaining any
musk turtles together with their own kind or closely related species. Aggression between rival males, or with unreceptive females often results. These situations should be monitored closely. As with all musk turtles, but to a greater extent, loggerheads should
be handled with caution. Their powerful jaws are very capable of producing an unpleasant experience for their keeper if handled carelessly.
Other information. Unlike other musk turtles, the Loggerhead appears to be diurnal. This is
probably an adaptation to its habitat, where the water temperatures in the springs maintain a constant temperature (in the low 70's fahrenheit / 21celsius) year round. A very personable and responsive turtle.
Studies are in progress.
Some say Sternotherus minor minor has two forms, depending on the adult size. But it is proven that both 'forms' occur in the same area, DNA examination is needed to investigate further development about this. The small form his SCL reach from 6-9cm, where
the big 'form' SCL is more then 10cm till 14.5cm... But nothing is sure yet.