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Reptiles of the United States  
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A Guide to the Reptiles &
Amphibians of the United States
U.S. Reptile Guide snakes lizards Turtles turtles salamanders Alligators of the US
Snakes of the U.S.


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Trionychidae - Soft Shell of the United States


Doftshells are easily identified by a nearly circular, pancakelike carapace covered with soft leathery skin instead of horny scutes. The feet are paddlelike, fully webbed, and have 3 claws on each foot. The snout is tubular, the beak sharp and enclosed in fleshy lips

Strong swimmer, softshells cruise submerged, breathing through their snorkel like snouts. They like to bask near the shore, but are easily disturbed, and display great agility and speed in retreeating to the safety of the water. One to three clutches of hard shelled, spherical eggs are laid each season. Female softshells grow significantly larger then males and as adults their original carapace patterns become obscured by blotches or mottling. Males tend to retain the juvenile pattern, they have long thick tails with anal opeing near the tail tip.

Extreme care should be taken in handling softshells. The long neck and sharp jaws surprise many a careless collector.

 

There are only three species of Trionychidae - Soft Shell in the U.S.

Florida Softshell Turtle (Trionyx ferox)

Found from southern South Carolina and Georgia through Florida (except the Keys), west along the coastal plain to Mobile Bay, Alabama.

Smooth Softshell Turtle (Trionyx muticus)

Found in the drainage systems of the Ohio, Mississippi, Missouri, Arkansas, and Alabama Rivers..

Spiny Softshell Turtle (Trionyx spiniferus)

Found is throughout teh central United States as far west as the Continental Divide. Separate populations in Montana, southern Quebec, Delaware, and the Gila - Colorado River system of New Mexico and Utah.

 
 

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Recommended Trionychidae - Soft Shell Turtles Books at Amazon.com


     

 

 

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