Musk Turtle Lifespan: How Long Do Musk Turtles Live?

Stripe Neck Musk Turtle lifespan

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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If you are planning to get a baby musk turtle, it will probably grow old with you. You know turtles live a longer life than most other pet animals. Hence it is important to check the average life expectancy of any turtle species you are willing to welcome home. The idea will clear your doubts on whether you want the long-time commitment or not.

The lifespan of a musk turtle ranges from 30 to 60 years. Depending on the species, the musk turtles can live as short as 15 years to as long as 60 years.

In the following article, I will enlist the average lifespan of all musk turtle species. Also, you will get to know how you can ensure your musk turtle a long and healthy life.

Musk Turtle Lifespan: How Long Do They Live?

Musk turtles are comparatively small in size and have a carapace of brown, grey, or black color. The species has already earned much popularity among turtle lovers because of its look and easy-to-maintain characteristics.

Musk turtles also make great pets due to their average lifespan. These turtles neither live a short nor a longer life.

The musk turtles live a life of around 30 to 60 years. The estimated years depend on the species and the care it is receiving.

I am adding a chart below that includes the average life expectancy of all musk turtle species. Take a quick look to find out the lifespan of your pet musk turtle.

Musk Turtle Lifespan Chart

Musk Turtle SpeciesLifespanFacts
Razorback Musk TurtleMore than 25 yearsThe species is named Razorback musk turtles because of the distinctive sharp keel running down the center of the carapace.

Usually, a Razorback musk turtle lives up to 20 to 25 years in captivity.   The longest living Razorback musk turtle ever recorded was 29 years.

Researchers still do not know the exact life expectancy of this species in the wild.
Flattened Musk Turtle40 to 60 yearsAs the name suggests, the species has a flat carapace. The flattened musk turtles are small and blessed with a long life.  

In captivity, these turtles live around 50 to 55 years. The male Flattened musk turtles take almost 60 years to develop their 12-centimeter straight carapace.
Intermediate Musk TurtleUnknownIt’s not very long since the Intermediate musk turtles were introduced to the world. Initially, it was guessed that the species is a hybrid version of loggerhead and stripe neck musk turtles.  

However, the theory is long gone. Scientists believe that the Intermediate musk turtles have come to their existing appearance and characteristics with their own path of evolution.  

Due to the lack of knowledge and resources, the lifespan of the Intermediate musk turtles is still unknown.
Loggerhead Musk TurtleMore than 20 yearsThe Loggerhead musk turtles are native to the southern part of the United States. In the wild environment, this species lives 21 years at best.

On the contrary, in a captive environment, the longest lifespan of a Loggerhead musk turtle ever recorded is 23 years 11 months.
Common Musk Turtle30 to 60 yearsThe common musk turtles also go by the name Eastern musk turtles, or stinkpots. When under attack, these turtles release a musky odor.

That is why the species is called stinkpot.   Usually, a common musk turtle lives longer than most other fellow species.

In captivity, an Eastern box turtle has a lifespan of around 55 years. With exceptional care, the pet can live up to 60 years.
Narrow Bridged Musk TurtleMore than 15 yearsNarrow Bridged musk turtles make attractive and memorable pets for turtle hobbyists due to their unique physiology.

Unfortunately, the species does not live a long life. In captivity, the maximum life expectancy of a Narrow Bridged musk turtle is 16.1 years.
Stripe Neck Musk TurtleMore than 20 yearsUnique stripe linings on the neck have made this species look more attractive. These Stripe Neck musk turtles live up to 20 years.
Mexican Giant Musk TurtleMore than 30 yearsThe Mexican Giant musk turtles grow into 15 inches or more. On average, the lifespan of this species lies around 30 years.

The maximum longevity in captivity of these turtles is 33.5 years.

Pet Turtle Lifespan & Size Chart

pet turtle lifespan and size

If you want to get a printable version of this amazing chart, click here!

Factors That Affect A Musk Turtle’s Lifespan

Have you ever thought about why a captive musk turtle lives longer than a wild one? Also, why does a turtle from the same species get to live more years than others?

Well, like us humans, the longevity of a musk turtle depends on various factors. Things that decide the lifespan of a musk turtle are,

  • Environment
  • Diet
  • Health care

Yes, these are also the basic needs of any musk turtle. How do these factors affect the life expectancy of the species? Here is how.


In the wild, musk turtles have abundant space to move around, and everything comes to them naturally. But in captivity, the owner has to put effort to replicate the native habitat. Do you know the environment of the enclosure plays a significant role in the turtle’s lifespan?

You know musk turtles are fully aquatic and barely come to the surface for basking. So placing a small rock or basking dock at one corner of the enclosure will be fine. I have seen owners who think basking is unnecessary for the musk turtles as they are aquatic.

Let me clear your doubts. Each turtle, aquatic, semi-aquatic, and land dwellers require a place to bask. With the help of UV lamps on the dock, the turtles boost their immunity and digestive system. And most importantly, basking helps the turtles absorb sufficient calcium from food by producing vitamin D3.

Besides, the land area and a heating lamp on the top aid the musk turtles in drying their wet bodies. It eliminates the risk of having any bacterial growth and respiratory infection.

Dirty and cold environments are two other concerns while maintaining a musk turtle tank. Both the factors are enough to make the pet musk turtle severely sick.

From the upper texts, you can clearly see that an improper environment drives the musk turtles to illness. Any severe disease will deduct years from the turtle’s lifespan.


The immune system of a musk turtle is built upon its diet and surrounding environment. All the nutrition that contributes to the species’ healthy growth comes from food and supplements.

A musk turtle is a carnivorous species and refuses to eat the plant matter. In the wild, these turtles feed on crickets, insects, worms, and frogs. You can offer the turtles commercial food items to avoid deficiencies.

Turtle sticks or pellets, invertebrates, seafood, or commercial items offer the pets all the minerals and nutrition they need. You may have to sprinkle the foods with supplements if required.

A balanced diet ensures that the pet turtles will grow healthy and live their life to the fullest. Any food deficiencies make the musk turtles sick, which eventually affects their longevity.

Health Care

The health condition of a musk turtle has a huge impact on its lifespan. Any severe disease will take years away from the turtle’s longevity. For example, a musk turtle suffering from organ failure or prolonged respiratory infection will die younger than its fellow mates.

Potential health threats for a musk turtle are,

  • Fungal infection
  • Vitamin deficiency
  • Scratch
  • Shell infection
  • Respiratory disease
  • parasite

How to Help A Musk Turtle Live A Long Life?

As an owner, you can actually help your pet musk turtle live a longer life. How? Of course, by fulfilling all the pet’s needs and eliminating any life threat.

Here are a few tips,

  • For a single adult musk turtle (except the Mexican giant turtle), provide a minimum of a 20-gallon tank. If you are raising two musk turtles in a single enclosure, you need to increase the aquarium size to 30 or 40 gallons. A congested space sometimes stresses the musk turtle and leads to an unhealthy life.
  • The terrarium must include a small basking dock. The basking temperature should be around 90 to 100 degrees Fahrenheit. You can control the temperature by installing a heating lamp.
  • Do not forget to set up a UV lamp in the area. Lack of UVB rays causes MBD and other deformities in musk turtles. Similarly, insufficient UVA exposure makes the turtles inactive and mentally unhappy.
  • Musk turtles swim a lot, and ensuring a warm temperature in the water is mandatory. The temperature in the water area should be around 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a tank heater to regulate the temperature. A drop in the temperature will slow down the metabolism rate of these turtles.
  • Musk turtles can not stand dirty water or enclosure. The imbalance of pH, chlorine, and ammonia in the water also makes the turtles sick. For maintaining clean water, install a water filter. Also, different solutions can neutralize harmful elements like ammonia in the water.
  • A balanced diet of meat, shrimp, small fish, crickets, worms with a sprinkle of the supplement will fulfill the nutritional needs of the musk turtles. The healthier the diet, the stronger the immune system of the turtle will be. Also, avoid overfeeding the turtle.
  • Replace the water once a week and clean the whole enclosure once every month. Thorough cleaning eliminates the risk of bacterial or fungal attack and keeps the turtles healthy.
  • Take your musk turtle to a vet for regular checkups. If an emergency pops up, do not hesitate to spend a few more dollars. Also, look for any signs of illness in the pet and take quick actions according to it.

In the wild, musk turtles do not get to eat whenever they are hungry. They have to prey to survive. Also, those turtles do not get any medical care, even in an emergency. These are the reasons why a captive musk turtle lives longer than a wild one.

However, sometimes even with the best care, your pet musk turtle may not live up to its desired lifespan. Any genetic condition, organ failure, or any other undesired circumstances play the inverse role in those cases.


The lifespan of a musk turtle ranges from 15 to 60 years. With care and love, a captive musk turtle lives to its fullest. As a turtle hobbyist, you should do everything in your capabilities to ensure a healthy and long life for your pet musk turtle.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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