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What is a Sonoran Mud Turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense)

Sonoran Mud Turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense)

 Sonoran Mud Turtle Overview

The Sonoran Mud Turtle is a medium-sized turtle that lives in the streams and shallow waters of the Sonoran Desert. These shy turtles will spend as much of their life as they can in and around water rarely leaving it unless it’s to move to another water source. When faced with a drought, the Sonoran Mud Turtle will hide underground or under the roots of plants until water comes back to the area.

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  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Reptilia
  • Order: Testudines
  • Suborder: Cryptodira
  • Family: Kinosternidae
  • Genus: Kinosternon
  • Species: K. sonoriense

Related Article >> Reptiles

Size and Body Description

Sonoran Mud Turtles are small to medium species of a turtle with a classic turtle shell on its back with large, segmented portions that are surrounded by a smaller ringed section around the edge of their shell. Their shells are dark in color and usually olive or dark brown with the underside of their shell being light brown in color. The underside of their shell is sectioned off into six large sections that are further broken into more sections as you get near their head.



Sonoran Mud Turtles feed on snails, frogs, fish, tadpoles, as well as some plant material that may be near their source of water.


Sonoran Mud Turtles can lay up to two clutches of eggs per year with each clutch having around 1 to 11 eggs. Eggs start to hatch in August continuing all the way into December.


Sonoran Mud Turtles live in a small area in the southwest United States as well as northern Mexico. In the United States, these turtles can be found in Arizona and New Mexico. Turtles that live in Mexico are typically found in Chihuahua and Sonora.

Where Found

Sonoran Mud Turtles are found almost exclusively in and around water. On rare occasions, you can find these turtles walking on land but that is typically when they are moving from water pool to water pool to live or breed in. 


Sonoran Mud Turtles population is slowly declining due to agriculture, groundwater pumping, and climate change which is causing long-term droughts. As of writing this, these turtles fall under the Endangered Species Act which is working to get a protection and recovery plan implemented to save the Sonoran Mud Turtle from extinction.

References Used

Sonoran Mud Turtle (Kinosternon sonoriense)