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Florida Softshell Apalone ferox


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Florida Softshell
credit: Johnskate17

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Alternate name: Florida Softshell Turtle

Family: Trionychidae, Softshell Turtles view all from this family

Description Dark brown to olive green, leathery carapace with a white or cream colored underside, which provides the turtle with effective protection from some predators. Long neck, an elongated head, with a long snorkel-like nose.

Dimensions 15.1-32.7cm. (5 7/8-12 7/8") Female: 27.7-49.8cm. (10 7/8-19 5/8")

Breeding Nesting period March-July.Digs 5" (13cm) deep cavity. lays 4-22 eggs. Eggs 29mm (1 1/8") in diameter. Hatch after 9 weeks.

Habitat Lakes, ponds and canals with muddy bottoms.

Range South Carolina through Georgia, Florida and along Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Discussion These turtles are usually shy around humans, but when they feel threatened they will bite with their strong jaws. Like all soft-shells they are very fast in water and on land. In captivity they have been known to live up to 30 years old, although in the wild their lifespans are shorter. Feeds on crayfish, snails, frogs and fish.