Yellow Mud Turtle (Kinosternon flavescens) - Endangered
Description: 4 - 5 inches. Yellow Mud Turtles found in Iowa, Illinois, and Northeast Missouri are generally darker than those found elsewhere. They have a dark brown to black upper shell (carapace) with no markings, and is usually flattened on the top. The skin is dark gray to black, but there may be some yellow coloring on the chin. The bottom shell (plastron) is yellowish in color, with dark lines outlining each scale.
Similar Species: Common Musk Turtles usually have yellow markings on the sides of the head, and have a much smaller bottom shell, usually with skin showing between the scales. Large Snapping Turtles with smooth shells may appear similar to Yellow Mud Turtles in photos. Snapping Turtles within the size range of Yellow Mud Turtles will have a much rougher shell, as well as a tail that is as long as the upper shell.