Watch: Turtles Don’t Get Much Cuter Than This

It’s World Turtle Day, and what better time to share this in this incredibly cute video of an incredible small turtle:

Noah K Fields is a herpetologist with a thriving YouTube channel and an eye for small reptiles and amphibians. “I look for reptiles in the wild and point my camera at them!” his byline reads.

Approaching a small pebble in the middle of the road, Fields discovers it’s not a stone, but a very, very small turtle, of the cutest kind.

“That is not a rock, nor is it a turd. It is actually a hatchling eastern mud turtle.”

The Smallest Turtle in the World?

Herpetology is the study of reptiles, and Fields comments that the turtle is an Eastern Mud Turtle. This particular video is of a hatchling turtle, or a baby turtle, and will grow into a turtle around the side of an eastern box turtle, roughly 4 to 6 inches. Mud turtles are considered some of the smallest turtles in the world and are classified as dwarf turtles.

There is debate about the actual smallest turtle in the world, but suggestions have been made that it could be the Speckled Padloper Tortoise or the Speckled Dwarf Tortoise native to Little Namaqualand, South Africa, averaging 2-3 inches. Bog turtles and the Egyptian Tortoise are also listed as some of the smallest turtles and tortoises in the world. When they are fully grown ranging from 3 to 4 inches maximum. 

The Eastern Mud Turtle

Eastern mud turtles are freshwater turtles native to the United States and Mexico. They are not strong swimmers even though they have webbed feet, preferring gentle water such as marshes, ponds, and streams and rarely bask in the sun. They are carnivores and eat chopped meat amongst insects, worms, fish, and snails. Although often mistaken for snapping turtles, eastern mud turtles do not snap. You can detect the eastern mud turtle by its larger, hinged plastron compared to the smaller plastron of a snapping turtle. They are classified as endangered in New York State but are common in other states. If this video has inspired you to adopt an extremely small turtle as your next beloved pet, make sure you’re committed as they can live up to 20 years under human care.