Kinosternon Leucostomum or the White Lipped Mud turtles are natives of Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru and Colombia. They have an oval black or dark brown carapace that is slightly flattened on the top, sloped on the front and steep at the back. Juveniles have a single keeledcarapace that disappears as they grow older. There is a single hinge that allows the plastron to completely close the shell. The white lipped Mud turtles have yellow plastron and bridge and dark seams run across their body. Their head is average sized with a prominent snout and a hooked jaw. It is brown with cream colored and occasionally streaked jaws and ñwhite lipsî. The White Lipped Mud turtle has two pairs of characteristic barbels hanging from its lower jaw, one of them is larger and the other is smaller. Its legs are scaly and the color may vary within shades of brown and grey. Another characteristic feature of this species is the horny spine at the tip of its tail. Kinosternon Leucostomum is one of the very few species of turtle where the male outgrows the female. While females of the species grow up to 15 centimeters, the males can grow up to 18 centimeters and have longer and thicker tails and broader heads than the females. The White Lipped Turtle Habitat The White Lipped turtles are found in certain regions of Mexico, and extend to the Atlantic and Pacific drainages of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. They are generally found in quiet peaceful areas in marshes, lagoons, swamps and ponds that have dense aquatic vegetation and soft sandy bottom. The White Lipped Mud Turtles are not limited to water and can be found strolling on land. Some turtles of the species prefer to aestivate as far as 600 meters from water. A vivarium is recommended for people planning to keep the White Lipped turtles as pets. These turtles are relatively easy pet and can be kept in an aquarium along with fishes. However mud turtles are essentially bottom walker and at times prefer shallow water. A small basking area would suffice and the turtles wonÍt even use it regularly. They are highly aquatic and would come out on land on rare occasions. Most of the time they prefer to swim to the surface of water, poke their heads out and sun-bask half submerged. Water quality therefore is very important. The pH levels should be neutral and the water used in the aquarium should be filtered and nonchlorinated. An underwater air pump to assist water movement and an underwater filter should be fitted in the aquarium and the water should be regularly filtered. The White Lipped Mud Turtle Diet The White Lipped Mud turtles are omnivores and eat anything that has ample protein content. They eat everything from crayfish, snails, earthworms, aquatic insects, fish, meat, carcass, lettuce and duckweed. The White Lipped Mud turtles should not be overfed. While the hatchlings need more food and should be fed daily the adults would grow obese and should only be fed twice every week.