Florida Soft Shell Florida Softshell Turtle
Trionyx ferox


Males, 5 7/8-12 7/8" (15.1-32.7 cm); females, 10 7/8-19 5/8" (27.7-49.8 cm). Shells covered with soft leathery skin, not horny scutes. Carapace dark brown or brownish-gray, may have darker blotches; ridge along margin and numerous blunt tubercles on leading edge. Dark-bordered yellow or red band extends from eye to base of lower jaw. Lateral ridge on nostrils extends from nasal septum.


Sandy or muddy-bottomed lakes, ponds, and canals, and big springs with overhanging foliage.


Nests mid-March to July, in the morning, on sandy ground exposed to sunlight. Lays 4-22 thin-shelled, spherical eggs, about 1 1/8" (29 mm) in diameter, in cavity 5" (13 cm) deep. Incubation takes about 9 weeks.

Florida Soft Shell
Florida Soft Shell


S. South Carolina and Georgia through Florida (except the Keys), west along coastal plain to Mobile Bay, Alabama.


The photo on the left was taken from the back of my condo in Florida showing the turtles sunning on the bank of the lake.  It is frequently seen floating on the water's surface or basking along banks. Below water, it rests buried in mud or sand, with only its head poking out. Its diet includes crayfish, snails, frogs, fish, and occasionally young waterfowl.