New York Natural Heritage Program
Eastern Mud Turtle
Kinosternon subrubrum (Lacepède, 1788)

Habitat [-]
Eastern mud turtles live in freshwater or brackish wetlands and the undeveloped sandy vegetated uplands that surround them. They prefer wetlands that are shallow and quiet, with a soft bottom and emergent vegetation. These wetlands include marshes, small ponds, water-filled ditches, creeks, and swamps. On Long Island and adjacent islands, the turtles usually occupy brackish marshes and ponds dominated by giant reed grass (Phragmites australis). The surrounding undeveloped sandy uplands are a critical component of suitable habitat, since they provide areas that are critical for nesting and overwintering (Soule and Lindberg 2008).

Associated Ecological Communities [-]
  • Brackish tidal marsh
    A marsh community that occurs where water salinity ranges from 0.5 to 18.0 ppt, and water is less than 2 m (6 ft) deep at high tide. The vegetation in a brackish tidal marsh is dense and dominated by tall grass-like plants.
  • Coastal salt pond
    A community inhabiting marine shoreline lakes or ponds formed by sandspits that close off a lagoon or bay. The water typically averages brackish or slightly brackish over long periods of time, but may range rapidly from fresh to saline.
  • Estuarine impoundment marsh*
    A marsh community that occurs in a wetland created or modified by a barrier or dam that obstructs the outflow or inflow of water, and which has a biological composition significantly different from the composition of a natural estuarine marsh.

    * probable association but not confirmed
  • High salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide up to the limit of spring tides. It is periodically flooded by spring tides and flood tides. High salt marshes typically consist of a mosaic of patches that are mostly dominated by a single graminoid species.
  • Low salt marsh
    A coastal marsh community that occurs in sheltered areas of the seacoast, in a zone extending from mean high tide down to mean sea level or to about 2 m (6 ft) below mean high tide. It is regularly flooded by semidiurnal tides. The mean tidal range of low salt marshes on Long Island is about 80 cm, and they often form in basins with a depth of 1.6 m or greater.
  • Pitch pine-scrub oak barrens*
    A shrub-savanna community that occurs on well-drained, sandy soils that have developed on sand dunes, glacial till, and outwash plains.

    * probable association but not confirmed

Associated Species [-]
  • Snapping Turtle (Chelydra serpentina)
  • Painted Turtle (Chrysemys picta)
  • Spotted Turtle (Clemmys guttata)
  • Common Musk Turtle (Kinosternon odoratum)