How To Catch Softshell Turtles? Tips from a Turtle Enthusiast

If you’re a turtle enthusiast, you know How To Catch Softshell Turtles, and it’s a rewarding experience. These fascinating creatures are known for their unique appearance and behavior but can be elusive and difficult to catch.

How To Catch Softshell Turtles

However, with the right techniques and tools, you can increase your chances of successfully catching a softshell turtle.

Here we Will Reveal Interesting Facts About Softshell Turtle. How To Catch Softshell Turtles? We’ll Show You A Trick.

In this blog post, we will share some tips and tricks from a turtle enthusiast on catching softshell turtles. Whether you’re a seasoned turtle catcher or a beginner, these tips will help you improve your skills and enhance your enjoyment of the hobby. So grab your gear and get ready to catch some softshell turtles!

What You’ll Need to Catch Softshell Turtles?

If you’re looking to catch a softshell turtle, there are a few things you’ll need:

  • A fishing rod and reel
  • Fishing line
  • Bait (worms, shrimp, or small fish)
  • A net or dip net
  • A bucket or container for the turtle
  • Protective gloves (optional)
  • A smaller tank or tub to keep the turtle in (optional)

How to Catch a Softshell Turtle? Step by steps

If you’re looking to add a softshell turtle to your reptile collection, there are a few things you need to know. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to catch a softshell turtle:

1. Research turtle habitats and behaviors:

 Map out where softshell turtles can be found in your area, and familiarize yourself with the types of habitats they inhabit. Knowing where to find them is the first step to successful turtle catching.

2. Gather supplies:

Ensure you have all the necessary supplies to catch a softshell turtle safely. This includes a pair of gloves, a net, a bucket or container, and optional tools like a flashlight or headlamp (for nighttime searching).

3. Locate the turtles:

Using the information you’ve gathered about their habitats and behaviors, search for softshell turtles in likely areas such as rivers, streams, ponds, lakes, and marshes.

4. Sneak up on your target:

Loud noises or sudden movements easily spook softshell turtles, so take care when approaching them. Move slowly and quietly to ensure you don’t scare it away before you have a chance to catch it.

5. Gently scoop up the turtle:

Once you’re close enough, use your net or hands to gently scoop up the turtle from behind its shell to avoid harming it. 

6. Securely hold the turtle:

 Once you have the turtle in your hands, hold it securely but not too tightly. Ensure you don’t injure the turtle or cause any distress.

7. Place the turtle in a secure container:

Carefully transfer the turtle from your hands into a secure container such as a bucket or plastic box with air holes for ventilation. Be sure to cover the container to keep it from escaping.

8. Safely transport the turtle:

If you take the turtle home, ensure you take extra care to transport it safely. Place the container in a cool and secure place, regularly checking to ensure enough air ventilation.

9. Release the turtle:

Once you’ve reached your destination, immediately release the softshell into its natural habitat to continue its normal activities without disruption.

10. Monitor your new pet’s health:

If you plan on keeping your new pet turtle, monitor its health closely and ensure it has access to clean water and food sources.

Following these steps will ensure you catch a softshell turtle safely and without harming the animal.

Common Mistakes When Catching Softshell Turtles:

When it comes to catching softshell turtles, there are a few things you need to avoid to be successful. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make when trying to catch these creatures:

1. Not using the right bait:

Softshell turtles are not attracted to the same baits that other turtles are. They prefer live prey, such as minnows or crayfish. If you’re using the wrong bait, you won’t have any luck catching softshell turtles.

2. Not using the right size hook:

Another mistake people make is using too small or too large hooks. The hook must be just the right size for the turtle to take it. If it’s too small, the turtle will ignore it. The turtle might swallow it and get hurt if it’s too large.

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3. Not setting the hook properly:

Once you’ve got a softshell turtle on your line, setting the hook properly is important so you don’t lose it. Many people try to set the hook too hard and rip the turtle’s mouth open. This usually leads to the turtle getting away and leaving you empty-handed.

4. Not being patient enough:

Catching softshell turtles takes time and patience. It would help if you were prepared to sit for long periods without getting a bite. It can be frustrating, but you won’t have any luck if you give up too soon.

5. Not having the right equipment:

If you don’t have the proper equipment for catching softshell turtles, your efforts will be in vain. Ensure you have a good fishing rod and reel with the correct line and hook size.

It would help if you also had a net or landing net to get the turtle out of the water once you’ve caught it. Without these items, it’s going to be almost impossible to catch a softshell turtle.

6. Not Handling Turtles Properly:

It’s important to remember that softshell turtles are delicate creatures. They can get injured or even die if you don’t handle them properly. Please ensure you’re gentle when removing the turtle from the water and always support its body when releasing it back into the wild.

Following these tips will help you avoid common mistakes when catching softshell turtles and increase your chances of success.

Tips on How To Catch Softshell Turtles?

  1. Look for softshell turtles basking in the sun on logs or rocks near the water’s edge. They are often found in groups.
  2. Use a long-handled net to scoop up the turtle. Be careful not to damage the turtle’s shell.
  3. If you use a trap baited with chicken or fish, check it regularly and remove any caught turtles promptly to avoid stress and injury.
  4. Softshell turtles can be aggressive and may bite, so use caution when handling them.
  5. Wear gloves when handling the turtles, and keep them in a wet environment until you are ready to release them back into the wild. 6. Consider using a turtle container made from a plastic storage bin with air holes in the lid.
  6. If you are not planning to keep the turtles for long periods, release them into their habitat as soon as possible.
  7. In some states, it is illegal to catch turtles without a permit. Check with your local fish and game department before catching any turtles.
  8. Do not keep wild-caught softshell turtles as pets unless they have been properly tested and cleared by a veterinarian beforehand.
  9. Never release pets into the wild; instead, contact your local animal control or wildlife rehabilitation facility to assist surrendered animals.

When can you catch the soft-shelled turtle?

How To Catch Softshell Turtles

Spring and early summer are the best times to catch soft-shelled turtles. The water is warm, and the turtles are actively feeding.

Look for turtles basking in the sun on logs or rocks near the water’s edge. When you see a turtle, approach quietly and quickly grab it behind the head with both hands.

Hold on tight—these turtles can squirm and twist their way out of your grip!

The Dangers of Eating Wild Softshell Turtles

There are many dangers associated with eating wild softshell turtles. First and foremost, these turtles can carry harmful bacteria that can cause serious human illness.

These bacteria can be found in the turtle’s intestine and transferred to humans through contact with the turtle’s meat or shell.

In addition, softshell turtles may also contain high levels of mercury, which can be dangerous for pregnant women and young children.

Finally, it is important to be aware that wild softshell turtles are protected by law in many states, and it is illegal to harvest them without a permit.

Softshell Snappin' Turtle {Catch Clean Cook} Alligator Crushes a turtle at our feet!!!!

Bottom Line:

Softshell turtles are one of the most popular turtle species kept as pets. They are relatively easy to care for and can live for many years properly.

When choosing a softshell turtle, selecting a healthy individual from a reputable source is important.

Softshell turtles are semi-aquatic, so their enclosure should provide land and water areas. A basking spot with a UVB light is also necessary. Softshell turtles should be fed a diet of live prey items, such as crickets, worms, and minnows.

I hope that this information has been helpful in providing you with an understanding of softshell turtles and their care requirements.


What is the best time of year to catch softshell turtles?

The best time of year to catch softshell turtles is spring and summer. This is when they are most active and can be found basking in the sun on logs or rocks.

What type of bait should I use?

While live bait is always best, softshell turtles will also eat dead fish, worms, and insects. You can use just about any bait that fits on a hook.

Where do I find softshell turtles?

You can find softshell turtles near ponds, lakes, and streams. They often bask in the sun on logs or rocks near the water’s edge. Look for them in areas with plenty of vegetation to hide in if they feel threatened.

How do I set up my trap?

You will need a wire mesh trap at least 18 inches wide by 36 inches long. Bait your trap with live bait or dead fish, worms, or insects, and place it near where you have seen softshell turtles basking in the sun. Check your trap regularly and remove any captured turtles immediately to avoid stressing them out.

How do I handle a soft shell turtle safely?

Softshell turtles have sharp beaks and claws and can bite if they feel threatened, so you should use caution when handling them. Use a net or towel to cover the turtle, then gently pick it up from underneath with both hands and place it in a bucket of water. Keep your hands away from the head and tail to avoid being bitten.

My name is Shayan Mondal, and I am a passionate turtle owner and enthusiast who enjoys sharing my knowledge and experience with fellow turtle lovers. As a proud owner of several turtle species, I understand the importance of proper care, habitat setup, and nutrition for these delightful creatures. This website regularly updates the latest insights into turtle health, diet, and conservation efforts.

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