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Spiny Soft-shell Turtle (Apalone spinifera spinifera)
Identification: Smooth, flat, "rubbery," skin-covered shell lacks
scutes and has flexible edges. Brown or olive carapace covered with black
circles and spots in males and juveniles, dark blotches in females. Nose long
and pig like, all feet fully webbed.
Photo © Jim Harding
Adult female carapace length: 7 to 19 inches (18 to 48 cm).
Adult male carapace length: 5 to 9.25 inches (12.7 to 23 cm).
Habitat: Rivers, lakes, impoundments with sand or mud bottom with
Habits: Will bask on logs or banks; often bury themselves in sand or
mud in shallow water. They rarely move over land except to nest. These turtles
are very fast swimmers and agile on land; will bite in self defense. They eat
crayfish, insects, tadpoles, and occasionally small fish.
Reproduction: Mostly in June, females dig a nest cavity in sunny spot
near water, deposit 4 to 38 round, hard shelled eggs. Eggs hatch in August or
Range and Status: Common in southern and north central Lower
Peninsula. Threatened by pollution, over-harvest, and shoreline development.
Related Documents> Spiny Soft-shell Turtle Occurrances Map - 111324 bytes