Florida softshell turtle

About This Project

A carapace with no scales?!

Although it is quite capable of moving around on land, this turtle is almost entirely aquatic and has adapted to this lifestyle in a number of ways. Its carapace has no scales, instead it resembles very thick leather, supple enough to allow the turtle to swim very fast. Its feet are webbed and its snorkel-like nose enables it to breathe without lifting its head out of the water.

An opportunist carnivore, it is known for its aggressive behaviour.

Its meat is highly edible and large numbers are caught for this reason. Nevertheless, it is not considered to be at risk.

Latin name: Apalone ferox
Class: Reptilia
Order: Testudines
Family: Trionychidae
Size: up to 68 cm (females are larger than males)
Weight: 30 kg
Lifespan: 20 years
Incubation: days
Number of eggs: 18 to 39 in a clutch, up to 7 clutches a year
Habitat: rivers and lakes
Diet: carnivorous
Distribution: South-East of the USA
Conservation status: Least Concern