Hi, I am a Spiny Softshell Turtle. I am one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. My shell is flat, soft, and rubbery, but the edges of my carapace are pliable with small spines. Our female’s carapace can be7 to 19 inches in length, but males are smaller in size 5 to 10 inches.
My nose is very unique its long, and piglike, and my feet are webbed. My feet help me swim and we spend most of our life in the water. We are found throughout the United States, and Mexico. Our habitats include ponds, streams, rivers and lakes all with a muddy and sandy bottom with not much vegetation. We will eat almost anything we find in the water and that will fit into our mouth, which includes insects, crayfish, fish, etc.
You may have problems finding us because we bury ourselves under a layer of mud at the bottom of a lake with our cute face sticking our and then quick enough to catch something yummy when it passes us by. We are diurnal species and we do spend most of the day in the warm Sun and foraging for food. When we get scared or threatened we will quickly bury ourselves in the sand and leaves just our head is still visible.
You may not know this but we are able to breathe underwater because of our pharyngeal lining and cloacal lining and skin. Males will nudge a female to try and court her, and when she shows approval he will swim with her. We breed in May and females lay anywhere from 3 to 40 eggs on sandbars, or in loose soil. The eggs will hatch in August or September, and we can live up to 50 years.
We are not threatened species but we are facing many threats in pollution and habitats being destroyed. If you want to be able to see us one day, you better help take care of our habitat.
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