This is a Stinkpot Turtle. She is very cute.
She should not, however, have been in a local creek here is California. Her species is native to the East Coast of the United States.
Why does it matter? After all, she is still American, right?
It DOES matter. She and her ilk are taking over habitats and driving out our native Western Pond Turtles.
Western Pond Turtles were once plentiful and ranged from as far south as Baja California to as far north as British Columbia. For many years their habitat range has been shrinking and they are currently only found in parts of California and Oregon along with two small populations in the state of Washington. Their shrinking populations are credited to habitat loss, non-native predators and crowding by non-native turtle species.
Please, please! If you have a pet turtle that you have tired of, find it a good home. Don’t dump it in a local stream. Released pets introduce diseases to and take over habitat from local wildlife populations, and can drive them to extinction. And extinction is forever.