Effective species conservation and management plans are informed by spatial ecology. Specifically, a comprehensive understanding of a species' basic needs requires quantitative information pertaining to movement ecology at multiple spatial and temporal scales. In this study, we used radio telemetry to quantify home ranges and core use areas of the Flattened Musk Turtle (Sternotherus depressus; Testudines: Kinosternidae) and evaluate models explaining activity and movement patterns for the species in Alabama, USA. Home ranges averaged 332 m in stream length, whereas 95 and 50% kernel density estimators suggested core use averaged 185 and 86 m, respectively. Turtle activity increased late in the day and at night, as well as with precipitation. Movement distance increased with precipitation and water temperature, as well as during the breeding and nesting season compared with the post-nesting season. Home range size, core use stream lengths, activity patterns, and movement patterns did not differ significantly between males and females. Our study is the first to rigorously model activity and movement patterns of imperiled S. depressus, and we quantify home ranges and core areas of space use over multiple seasons, filling important gaps in our knowledge of this species.

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