The yellow mud turtle spends spring in aquatic habitats, and hibernates in a subterranean burrow during winter (3). Some individuals may also aestivate in summer during hot or dry periods. As it is not freeze-tolerant, winter burrows are built below the freeze line and are often located underneath a plant to provide extra protection from the cold. The annual activity period for most individuals is 140 days per year, with the rest of the time spent aestivating or hibernating. The high fat content of the yellow mud turtle means it is able to sustain itself throughout long periods of dormancy, and the amount of fat held within one individual can sustain it for up to 24 months (2).
The opportunistic yellow mud turtle feeds on a variety of prey (1) (2), including earthworms, leeches, crustaceans, insects, molluscs, fish and amphibian larvae (5), with plant matter being digested secondarily (2) (5).
After becoming sexually mature between the age of 11 and 16 years (1), the female yellow mud turtle produces a single clutch annually (3), which usually contains between four and nine eggs (1). The female digs a hole in the ground down to around 20 centimetres, where it proceeds to remove the earth underneath itself to form a nest cavity, before depositing the eggs (2). Unlike other turtle species, the female shows parental care after the eggs have been deposited, and may remain buried with the eggs for over 38 days (1) (2). The eggs are usually laid in June, and hatch during the autumn (3). The hatchlings then overwinter close to the nest site and migrate away from their natal habitat between May and June (3), although some hatchlings may burrow into the soil beneath the nest cavity and remain there until the following spring (5). The sex of the young is dependent on the temperature at which they are incubated (2) (3) (5), with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius producing all females and lower temperatures between 25 and 27 degrees Celsius producing mostly males (3). Eggs incubated at temperatures lower than 24 degrees Celsius do not usually hatch (3).