spiny softshell turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtle

Apalone spinifera

CLASS Reptilia | ORDER Testudines | FAMILY Trionychidae

RANGE Southern Canada, eastern and central United States, northern Mexico

HABITAT Rivers, streams, lakes, marshes

DIET Frogs, tadpoles, fish, worms, aquatic insects, mollusks, and crawfish

Up to 21.25 in

IUCN Status
Not Listed
spiny softshell turtle

Unlike other turtles, the spiny softshell turtle lacks horny scutes. Instead, this species is covered with a tough, pliable, leathery skin. This turtle can absorb oxygen through its skin and through the lining of the throat and cloaca, allowing it to hibernate underwater for up to 6 months.

spiny softshell turtle

They are strong swimmers with large webbed feet and are extremely fast both on land and in water. If disturbed, they will quickly retreat into the water and bury themselves in sand, leaving only their heads visible.