Animals / Reptiles / Turtles - The Reptiles with Big Shells / Spiny Softshell Turtle - Long-lived Taper Nose

Spiny Softshell Turtle - Long-lived Taper Nose


big ugly mug

 

One of the largest species of fresh water turtles in North America, the spiny softshell turtle gets its name from the small, spike-esque, spiny projections on the front edge of its carapace (shell). These projections aren't scales, but are instead just part of their pliable shell. These large turtles can be found in much of the United States, as well as parts of Canada (Ontario and Quebec) and Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahulia, Tamaulipas and Nuevo Leon), and they are notable not just for their interesting shells, but for their tapered noses as well. There are six sub-species and they have quite different looks by region

 

 

canadian spiny

 

spotted spiny

 

Spiny softshells have a long life expectancy (up to 50 years), and thus begin mating later than most wild animals, reaching maturity between the ages of 8 and 10 years old. Females lay between 9 and 38 eggs in an enclosure on a sandbar, which leads to baby softshells having to spend the first moments of their lives in danger of being eaten. As with most turtles species who lay eggs out of the water, their is a good chance that spiny softshell hatchling won't make it past being a few minutes old. As hatchlings, these turtles have very distinct markings on their shells, but these are known to fade away as they get older. At full size, these creatures range in length from 5 to 18.9 inches (12.7 to 48 centimeters), making them hard to miss if present. They're currently in no danger of extinction and have strong population numbers throughout their large range.

 

basking green

 

swimming spiny

 

 

 

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