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Florida Softshell Turtle | by L.G.Mills
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Florida Softshell Turtle

The Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox) is a species of softshell turtle native to the eastern United States, primarily in the state of Florida, but it also ranges to South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. They are widely distributed by the pet industry, and individual specimens have been found released to the wild well outside of their range, but they are not known to have established outside of their native habitat. They are widely distributed by the pet industry.[1]

Contents

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* 1 Description

* 2 Behavior

* 3 Diet

* 4 References

 

[edit] Description

 

The Florida Softshell Turtle typically has a dark brown to olive green, leathery carapace with a white or cream colored underside. They have a long neck, an elongated head, with a long snorkel-like nose. Juveniles have dark blotching, which fades as they age. They grow to a large size, from 6-25 inches (15-63 cm), largest of all the species in the genus Apalone. The juveniles are olive-yellow with grey spots and a yellow lined carpace. Juveniles also have yellow and orange markings on the head and a gray plastron. These marking disappear as it ages, although adults sometimes show traces of the markings.[2]

 

[edit] Behavior

 

Florida Softshell Turtles are almost entirely aquatic, generally only emerging from the water to bask or to lay their eggs.[3] They prefer still waters and can be found in ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and swamps.The Florida Softshell Turtle is carnivorous, eating fish, snails, insects, and amphibians. The turtle is usual shy around humans, but when they feel threatened they will bite with their strong jaws.[4] Like all soft-shells they are very fast in water and on land.[5] In captivity they have been known to live up to 30 years old , although in the wild their lifespans are shorter.

 

[edit] Diet

 

They are highly canivorous, consuming fish, frogs, amphibians, insects, and crustaceans.

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Taken on July 20, 2008