Apalone spinifera Photo Alan Cressler ©
Spiny Softshell turtles have round, flattened shells covered with a leathery skin. A similar species, the Florida softshell has an oval shell.
Spiny softshells have an olive to tan colored carapace, the margin of which is marked with dark line. The neck is almost as long as the body and can be retracted, and there are two converging stripes on the side of the head. The snout is tubular with enlarged nostrils, and the feet are paddle-like.
Spiny softshell turtles rarely leave the water except to lay eggs. They are wary and often bask half in and half out of the water so they can escape quickly at the first sign of danger. In Florida, this species is found in rivers, lakes and ponds in the extreme western portion of the panhandle.
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