Native to Florida, as well as southern Alabama, southern and eastern Georgia, and southern South Carolina. It is the only species of softshell turtle that can be found throughout the entire Florida peninsula.
This turtle is almost entirely aquatic. It will often bury itself in the muddy substrate under water. It inhabits almost all types of natural and manmade bodies of freshwater, and will occasionally tolerate brackish water. It prefers still or slow-moving water, so it will rarely be found in rivers or streams with strong current.
The largest species of softshell turtle found in North America. Females are 3-5 times larger than males and average 16 inches in length and weigh just under 15 lbs. Males only reach about 14 inches and weigh 6 lbs. This turtle has a flattened, leathery shell, large, wide webbed feet, a long neck, and elongated, snorkel-like nostrils. Its head is relatively large and eyes spaced close together. Adults are a uniform muddy grey or brown all over their dorsum, with faint darker mottling, and the anterior edge of their carapace is covered in bumps. The ventral surfaces are an unmarked pale cream color.
Learn more with Schechter Natural History's Guide to Reptiles and Amphibians