Smooth Softshell Turtle

Smooth Softshell Turtle

Other Names: Midland Smooth Softshell, Spineless Softshell, Pancake Turtle

Scientific Name: Apalone mutica (Formerly:  Trionyx muticus)

Family: Trionychidae

Description & Size

  • Soft, leathery upper and lower shell (carapace and plastron)
  • Very long neck when fully extended
  • Lack projections from inside the nostrils
  • Shell length:  8.1-36.8 cm (3.2-14.5 in)
  • Carapace color:  olive green to brown
  • Plastron color:  white or grey
  • Skin color: olive green to brown
  • Have a dark-bordered lightly colored line on either side of the head extending from the eye to the neck
  • Females: much larger than males


  • Large rivers
  • Large lakes
  • Sandy substrate


  • Invertebrates
  • Fish
  • Rarely, seeds and fruit

Life History

  • Diurnal
  • Active season:  April – September (Plummer, 1977)
  • Breeding season:  April – June
  • Lays eggs
  • 1-3 clutches of 3-33 eggs per female


Smooth Softshell Turtle Range