The Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone forax) is an aquatic species native to Florida, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. Rarely found out of it’s fresh water habitat, this female was spotted laying eggs on the bank of a roadside canal in the Babcock-Webb Wildlife Management Area in Punta Gorda, Florida.
The largest of the species abalone, this is the largest softshell turtle in North America. Common in ponds, creeks and canals, the Florida Softshell is listed as of “least concern” on the IUCN Red List, but sadly also common in the pet trade.
Acarnivorous turtle, itis extremely fast moving on land, has an extremely long neck…..and will deliver a nasty bite if disturbed.
The photo below shows typical Florida habitat for the Florida Softshell….a stagnant canal during the end of the dry season. Yes, that is an alligator lurking in the algae…..probably a 6 or 7 footer!
This female looked to be about 60lbs….but can grow to over 90lbs. Here you can see her laying eggs in the softtrailside sand along the Seaboard Grade canal. The map showsspecies range.
And finally a look at the Seaboard Grade…..a wonderful hike in Florida’s Flatwoods and Mesic Prairie.