Unlike many aquatic turtles, this shy, secretive species rarely basks in the sunshine when healthy, instead showing a strong tendency towards crepuscular and nocturnal activity, particularly during summer (3). However, sick flattened musk turtles often bask in order to raise their body temperature, a phenomenon known as behavioural fever (4). Snails and clams are preferred food items, particularly the introduced Asian clam, but the diet also includes aquatic insects, arachnids, crayfish and the occasional dead fish (3) (6). Juveniles are apparently more active during the day than adults and rely more heavily on insects, although small snails are also consumed (3).
Males mature at around four to six years of age, females at six to eight (3) (6). Females lay one to two clutches of eggs a year between May and early July (2) (3). Each clutch contains one to four eggs and is deposited in a shallow nest dug in a high sandy bank (3).
Flattened musk turtles are long-lived, with a life span of 20 to 40 years (3). Juveniles are at risk from wading birds and possibly some predatory fish, while raccoons and possibly otters are thought to prey on adults and nests (3) (4). Large common snapping turtles are possible predators of both juveniles and adults (3).