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  • Florida Soft Shelled Turtle - Apalone spinifera
  • Florida Soft Shelled Turtle - Apalone spinifera

Florida Soft Shelled Turtle - Apalone spinifera

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Apalone spinifera or the Florida Soft Shelled Turtle are some of the cutest turtle species. It is a delight to watch baby spiny soft shells and adults swim. Hobbyists often claim watching them swim is a graceful and charming sight. They are one of the largest fresh water turtles found in North America. Most commonly found in Quebec and Ontario some isolated species have also been discovered in Texas and Mexico. They have a plain, smooth and soft leathery carapace with the cone like projections on the edges that give it the name ñSpinyî. The carapace is round, flattened, keel less, unserrated and has no scales or scutes. The plastron is equally rubbery and lacks scales. Both the carapace and the plastron can vary from olive green to brown with specs of black here and there. The plastron can even be grey or white. The outer edge of the carapace is usually darker than the rest of the body. The Apalone spinifera have a small neck and head with a tapered snout. The limbs are clawed and webbed and are responsible for their efficient swimming. The Spiny Florida Soft Shelled Turtle can grow up to 18 inches. Females are larger than the mails and have lighter and smaller tails. Males retain their coloration from adolescence to adulthood while the females tend to lose their lustre and get darkerwith age. The Florida Soft Shelled Turtle Habitat The Spiny Florida Soft Shelled Turtle are endemic to soft bottom deep water bodies of North America, Their Range extends from Canada in north to Texas and Mexico in south. There range extends from colder climates to hot tropical areas and they are highly temperature tolerant. The Apalone spiniferaare excellent swimmers and are graceful in their movements. An adult male can be kept in a 90-100 gallon water tank. And the females need a 200 gallon tank. However these are minimal requirements and if possible you should provide larger and deeper tanks with sufficient water volume. The Spiny Florida Soft Shelled Turtle is very vulnerable to infections and water purity and filtration is very important. An under water filter should be paired with an air pump and fitted to ensure hygiene, flow and proper oxygen amount in water. A dry area is as important as the water volume. Play sand, saw dust or soft soil can be used to layer the dry area. A similar substrate can be used to line the bottom of the tank. Most Spiny Soft turtle would like to bask if provided with a basking area and warmth. A heat lamp paired with a UVB light should be fitted over the dry part of the water tank to serve as basking area. The Spiny Florida Soft Shelled Turtle Diet The Spiny Florida Soft Shelled Turtle are essentially carnivores with a varied taste that depends on availability of food. They devour insects, worms, tadpoles, crustaceans, crayfish, goldfish and other small fisheswith equal taste. In captivity you can also feed them commercial turtle pellets, chicken livers, snails, chunks of fish and meat dabbed in powdered calcium and vitamins.