Florida Softshell Turtles


If you recall, I had taken and shared my mystery wildlife photo a couple months ago taken in Alabama that had me so curious to confirm what it was, I contacted a reptile group.  I thought it was a huge snake!


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Mystery Wildlife – Softshell Turtle (a.k.a. baby hippo! hehe)


There are several species of softshell turtles in North America, the largest of them is the Florida softshell turtle.  At our campground last month, there were several that basked in the sun each day around the ponds.


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Florida softshell turtle


The Florida softshell turtle ranges from 6 to 30 inches (15 to 76 cm) in length.  Adults females are often 3-5 times larger than males!


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Florida softshell turtles along with another unidentified turtle


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Florida softshell turtle


It was neat to actually get to view these turtles after having seen a glimpse of the one previously that had piqued my curiosity!


45 thoughts on “Florida Softshell Turtles

    • Thank you, Hien! Great question! Their shells are not like the typical turtle’s hard shell, it’s more a rubbery cartilage that is covered and protected by leathery skin.

  1. DONNA!!!! These pictures are absolutely STUNNING! I’ve never seen one of these turtles before, but now that you’ve identified it, I’ll know what they are when I DO see one, (and I hope I do get the chance to see one someday). I so enjoy the pictures you post. Thank you so much for sharing them and setting up this blog.

  2. These are amazing Donna! I never knew there was such a creature. Thank you for sharing them!

  3. I remember your old post where you mentioned this looks like a mini-hippo. It looked like a mini-alien to me LOL I’ve never heard of them until your post. Always something new to learn🙂

    • Thanks, Belinda! They are more vulnerable to predators; and, therefore, more aggressive than many turtle species. They have very sharp claws and powerful jaws to scratch and bite if disturbed.

  4. Wow, I’ve never heard of these or seen them in captivity. Pretty amazing that they’re not in any zoos I’ve been in. They do look like a hippo in the water.

    I think it’s wonderful that you got to see them in the wild and share the images. I’m glad you found out what they are.

  5. Great captures, Donna, of these odd creatures. ≈ Love that first shot, the hippo, and can see how you wouldn’t know what it was. Great captures, Donna, of these odd creatures. We saw them swimming in a small pond last winter in Florida, my only experience with them.

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