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Apalone is a genus in the Trionychidae family of turtles. They are native to North America, where they are the only extant softshell turtles. They are native primarily to the United States, though they are also found in parts of southern Canada and northern Mexico.

Softshells exhibit marked sexual dimorphism. In carapace length, females grow to about twice the size of males. In males, the claws on the front feet are longer than those on the back feet, but in females, the claws on the back feet are longer. In males, the stout tail extends well beyond the posterior edge of the carapace, but in females, the relatively thinner tail barely reaches the edge of the carapace.

Apalone are fast swimmers that chase down their prey in water. They feed mainly on fish.

These turtles have a flat, rounded and rubber-like carapace. Unlike other turtles, there are no plates or scutes on the lower shell or the carapace of this turtle. They can breathe in two different ways: either through their nose or through their skin.

These turtles mostly like to bask on the shore. However, they retreat quickly at the slightest hint of a movement which makes it difficult to spot them. Often, large turtles can be seen basking in the surface level of water. These turtles spend the majority of the lives remaining buried in the sandy or muddy bottom of their watery habitat.

It is not recommended that Softshells be kept in community habitats with species outside of other Softshells, however, there have been those that have had success keeping them with Mud Turtles, Musk Turtles, Sliders, Cooters, Map Turtles and Painted Turtles.

                                      To read more about or purchase a Softshell Turtle, click on one of the turtles below

softshell turtles

Florida Softshell Turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtle