Spiny Softshell Turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtle

Scientific Name: Apalone spinifera (Formerly:  Trionyx spiniferus)

Family: Trionychidae

Description & Size

  • Soft, leathery upper and lower shell (carapace and plastron)
  • Front of the carapace is covered with rough spiny projections
  • Very long neck when fully extended
  • Spiny projections from inside the nostrils
  • Shell length:  12.5-53.3 cm (4.9-21.0 in)
  • Carapace color:  olive green to light brown
  • Plastron color:  white or grey
  • Skin color:  have light stripes and dark blotches
  • Females: much larger than males


  • Lakes (small and large)
  • Rivers (small and large)
  • Marshes


  • Carnivorous
  • Invertebrates
  • Fish
  • Amphibians
  • Occasionally scavenge

Life History

  • Diurnal
  • Active season:  April – October
  • Breeding season:  April – June
  • Lays eggs
  • 1-2 clutches of 3-39 eggs per female


Spiny Softshell Turtle Range