Facts about Spiny Softshell Turtle. "Scientific name for Spiny Softshell Turtle is Apalone spinifera spinifera". Spiny Softshell Turtle is an Apalone variety of turtle that is one of the members of the Trionychidae family. The Spiny Softshell Turtle is native to North America, and it is one among the biggest freshwater turtle varieties in its native range. The Spiny Softshell Turtle attains its name due to its spiny, funnel-like protuberances on the leading rim of its carapace that are not scales. The Spiny Softshell Turtle has an extensive range, extending all through the major parts of the United States, in addition to north into the Quebec and Ontario provinces of Canada, and south into the states of Mexico, such as Nuevo León, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Coahuila. These turtles mostly live in rivers, marshes, lakes, farm ponds, including the Great Lake bays.
Features of Spiny Softshell Turtle
The Spiny Softshell Turtle is a freshwater turtle that attains a maximum shell length, ranging from 5 inches to 18 7/8 inches (12 to 45 cm) when fully grown. The Spiny Softshell Turtles have soft, even, circular carapaces with no scutes. The borders are flexible with tiny spines, and contain the spines on the posterior fraction of the carapace. The Spiny Softshell Turtle have a longer nose, tapered, and overturned at the tip with ridges.
The Spiny Softshell Turtle has two black-edged yellow color stripes that go along its neck. The plastron of the turtle is yellow or white in color, with the underneath visible bones. They have webbed feet with claws that make them swim easily in rivers and streams. The Spiny Softshell Turtle have a brown or olive color body, with black color speckles and a dark border about the rim of their carapace.
There is a slight sexual dimorphism in Spiny Softshell Turtle breeds. Adult male turtles maintain the yellow and olive coloration of their juveniles, with black color eyespots, and have somewhat a rougher carapace than females. These are smaller than female turtles, with the length, ranging from 12.7 cm to 24 cm (5 to 9 1/2 inches). Furthermore, males have thicker and longer tails than female Spiny Softshell Turtles. The female turtles have a dark color carapace during maturity and it will turn into a mottled gray later. The length of the female carapace ranges from 9 1/2 to 19 inches (24 cm to 48 cm) and the tail hardly extends past the border of her carapace.
Diet of Spiny Softshell Turtle
The Spiny Softshell Turtle breeds are carnivores, and they mostly feed on amphibian, insects, fish, mollusks, marine crustaceans and terrestrial worms.
Reproduction of Spiny Softshell Turtle
Both male and female Spiny Softshell Turtle attains the sexual maturity after they attain the age between 8 years and 10 years of age. Mating in these turtles will take place more than once in a single season. The mating season in the Spiny Softshell Turtles starts during middle spring and continues until late spring in deep water. The male turtle will push the head of the female turtle during swimming, and if she decides to mate, the male turtle will swim over the female devoid of clasping her by means of his claws. After some months, the female Spiny Softshell Turtle lays her eggs quickly along a sunlit sandbar or gravel bank in a flask-shaped hollow space that she has excavated near the water. The female turtle will lay circular, calcareous-crusted eggs, ranging from 9 to 38. It will lay its eggs about August and September, and they will hatch during the spring season. In the Spiny Softshell Turtle, the gender of the hatchlings is not decided by the variations in temperatures, but it is decided by hereditary.
The average lifespan of the Spiny Softshell Turtle is more than 50 years in the wild.