Florida Soft Shelled Turtles - Apalone ferox - Florida Soft Shelled Turtles
The Apalone Ferox or the Florida Soft Shelled Turtle is commonly found in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Mobile Bay. The Apalone Ferox is a Soft Shelled turtle that prefers slow moving fresh water bodies. As the name suggests they have a soft leathery carapace. The carapace is usually, brown olive or tan which is keel less, non-serrated and usually plain. The plastron is white or cream colored and covers the entire underbelly of the turtle. Though the upper and the lower shells are both softer as compared to most turtles they efficiently save them from predator attacks. The rest of the body is the same color as the carapace. Hatchlings have a dark blotch that fades as the turtle matures and completely disappears in adulthood. The hatchlings have gray spotted body and striped carapace. The head is elongated and has a snorkel shaped snout. The Florida Soft Shelled Turtles are a shy species and on the slightest hint of threatening activity they tend to dive into water for cover. The Apalone Ferox are large turtles that can grow up to 30 inches in carapace length. They are the largest soft shelled turtles found in America. Males usually reach only up to 15 inches carapace length. The Florida Soft Shelled Turtle Habitat The Florida Soft Shelled Turtle are mostly aquatic and only leave water to bask or lay eggs. They prefer deep and still or slow moving water bodies and can be usually found in ponds, marshes, swamps streams, swamps, rivers and lake. They are usually shy but when there is no alternative escape they might even bight and that can be painful. Unlike other hard shelled turtle the Florida Soft shelled turtles are quick on land as well as water. A 75 gallon water tank is the minimum requirement for a single male Florida Sot Shelled turtle for a female you should use a 100 gallon water tank.These are large turtles and efficient swimmers and need a large area to swim around. It is strongly advised that if you can you should provide 200-300 gallon aquariums. The water needs to be de-chlorinated and filtered at regular intervals. The Apalone Ferox prefers fresh water habitat with plenty of plants and vegetation. You can plant natural or artificial plants in the aquarium. The aquarium floor should be lined with layers of sand and soil. The Florida Soft Shelled turtle is very fond of basking and at many times they prefer to crawl to a shallow part poke their heads out and bask under water. A basking partially submerged and partially dry basking platform would be appropriate for them. A UVB light and a regular heat emitting bulb should be fitted over the basking area. The basking temperature should be around 80-85 degrees Fahrenheit. They prefer soft bottom and might dig up and hide under the bottom. The Florida Soft Shelled Turtle Diet The Florida Soft Shelled Turtle is essentially carnivore and prefers to eat fish, crustaceans, mollusk, tadpoles and an assortment of insects. However, in captivity they have been known to consume vegetables and fruits.