What Is A Softshell Turtle? Proper Guideline To You

Are you curious to know more about What Is A Softshell Turtle? Turtles have been around for millions of years and have evolved into an incredibly diverse species.

What Is A Softshell Turtle
What Is A Softshell Turtle

One of the most fascinating and elusive types of turtle is the softshell turtle. These turtles have a unique appearance and behaviour that set them apart from other turtles.

In this blog post, we will explore a softshell turtle, its unique characteristics, and why it is an important species to protect.

What Is A Softshell Turtle?

A softshell turtle is a type of turtle that has a soft, leathery shell. These turtles are found in watery habitats like streams, lakes, and ponds. Softshell turtles are generally smaller than others; the largest species can reach about two feet long.

While all turtles have hard shells, the shell of a softshell turtle is not as rigid as that of other turtles. The lower part of the shell is flexible and rubbery, while the upper part is harder.

This gives the softshell turtle greater flexibility overall, which helps it to swim faster and manoeuvre more easily in its watery home.

Softshell turtles are carnivorous animals; their diet consists mostly of insects, worms, and small fish. In some cases, they will also eat aquatic plants.

These turtles typically hunt at night, using their keen sense of smell to track down prey. During the day, they bask in the sun on rocks or logs near the water’s edge.

Like all turtles, softshell turtles have a long lifespan; some species can live for over 50 years in captivity. In the wild, however, their life expectancy is shorter due to predators and other dangers.

Is A Softshell Turtle Rare?

Softshell turtles are fascinating creatures that have been around for millions of years. They are found in different parts of the world, particularly in Asia and North America.

Some species of softshell turtles, like the Yangtze giant softshell turtle and the Indian narrow-headed softshell turtle, are considered critically endangered due to habitat loss, pollution, hunting, and other human activities. Continue to read

What are some interesting facts about softshell turtles?

Softshell turtles are fascinating creatures that have unique characteristics and behaviours. Here are some interesting facts about softshell turtles:

  • Softshell turtles have a rubbery, leathery shell instead of the typical hard, bony shell found in other turtle species.
  • The skin on their shells is highly sensitive to touch and can detect vibrations in the water and temperature changes.
  • These turtles are excellent swimmers and can hold their breath for long periods underwater.
  • Softshell turtles also have an elongated snout to breathe air while submerging and catching prey such as fish, insects, crustaceans, and molluscs.
  • They prefer living in freshwater bodies like rivers, lakes or ponds but don’t burrow into mud or sand during hibernation season.
  • During the breeding season, males fight over territories and females before mating.

Softshell turtles display intriguing behaviours that make them stand out from other turtle species.

Where Do Softshell Turtles Live?

Softshell turtles are aquatic creatures that can be found in a variety of habitats, such as rivers, lakes, and ponds. They prefer shallow waters with sandy or muddy bottoms where they can easily bury themselves.

In North America, softshell turtles are commonly found in the Mississippi River valley and its tributaries, including the Missouri and Ohio Rivers. They also inhabit freshwater bodies of water throughout Florida.

In Asia, softshell turtles are distributed widely across China’s river systems and Southeast Asia’s Mekong Basin. Some species have also been reported in India and Nepal.

Softshell turtles are known for their adaptability to different environments; they can thrive in still and flowing waters. During dry seasons or droughts, some species burrow into the mud until water returns to their habitat.

These fascinating creatures have a wide distribution range due to their ability to inhabit various aquatic ecosystems across different continents.

How Long Do Softshell Turtles Live?

Softshell turtles are known to have a long lifespan. In the wild, they can live up to 50 years or more, depending on various factors such as diet and habitat conditions.

Generally, softshell turtles in captivity tend to live longer than wild ones due to better care and protection from predators. With proper care and attention, captive softshell turtles can live for over 20-30 years.

It is important to note that while some species of softshell turtle have been observed living beyond their expected lifespan of 25-30 years, this does not mean that all individuals will do so.

Genetics, environment and health also play an important role in determining how long a turtle lives. Do you want to know more?

How Much Does A Softshell Turtle Weight?

Softshell turtles come in various sizes, and their weight differs depending on the species and age. The average weight of a softshell turtle can range from 5 to 15 pounds.

However, many factors affect their weight, such as gender, diet, habitat conditions, and environment. Female softshell turtles are typically larger than males; hence they weigh more.

A female Spiny Softshell Turtle can weigh up to 28 pounds, while a male-only weighs around 2-3 pounds. Similarly, Chinese Softshells have a maximum size of up to twelve inches in length for males and twenty-four inches for females. About to read more.

How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get?

Softshell turtles are known for their unique flattened and streamlined shells, allowing them to glide through the water easily. These aquatic reptiles can grow quite large, depending on the species and environment in which they live.

ALSO READ:  What Do Softshell Turtles Eat As A Pet? A Pet Owner's Guide

The size of a softshell turtle can vary greatly between different species. For example, Florida softshell turtles typically range from 10-20 inches long, while Chinese softshell turtles can reach up to 40 inches long! I have discussed in more detail here: How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get? A Comprehensive Guide To Their Size And Growth.

What Do Softshell Turtles Eat As A Pet?

As pets, softshell turtles can be fed a variety of foods. Their diet should consist mostly of protein-rich items such as insects, fish, and meat.

Softshell turtles are carnivorous animals that enjoy eating live prey. Some of their best food options include crickets, mealworms, and small feeder fish like guppies or minnows. These foods provide them with the essential nutrients they need to survive. I have discussed in more detail here:

Are Softshell Turtles Friendly?

Softshell turtles can make great pets, but many wonders if they are friendly. Well, the answer to that question is not exactly straightforward.

It’s important to understand that softshell turtles have unique personalities like any other animal. Some softshells can be quite docile and friendly, while others may exhibit more aggressive behaviour.

If you’re planning on keeping a softshell turtle as a pet, Then for you, I have discussed this in more detail here: Are Softshell Turtles Friendly? (Discovering The Intriguing Nature Of These Unique)

Types Of Softshell Turtles That You Can Keep As Pets

Softshell turtles are fascinating creatures that make great pets. There are several different types of softshell turtles that you can keep as pets, each with its unique characteristics and requirements.

One popular species is the spiny softshell turtle, which gets its name from the sharp spines on its shell. This type of turtle is known for being active and energetic, making them a fun pet to watch.

Another commonly kept species is the smooth softshell turtle. As their name suggests, these turtles have a smoother shell than other softshell. They also tend to be more docile and less active than other species. Read more information Here:

Can softshell turtles go into their shell?

Softshell turtles, unlike other turtle species, do not have a hard protective shell. Instead, they have a flexible leathery carapace that can bend with their body.

This unique adaptation allows them to move quickly through the water and dig into soft substrates on land.

However, this also means that softshell turtles cannot withdraw themselves entirely into their shells for protection like most other turtle species. Softshells rely more on their ability to swim away from predators or bury themselves in the mud to escape danger.

It’s important to note that even though softshell turtles cannot fully retract into their shells, they still have some form of protection from predators.

Their skin is thick and covered in scutes, providing some degree of armour against attacks. Additionally, many softshell turtles are known for being quite aggressive when threatened and will defend themselves fiercely if necessary.

While it may seem like a disadvantage not being able to retreat completely into a shell for protection, softshell turtles have adapted various survival strategies to help them thrive despite this limitation.

How Much Do Softshell Turtles Cost?

Softshell turtles can vary in price depending on the species and where you purchase them. On average, they can cost anywhere from $5 to $200.

The most common softshell turtle species kept as pets are the Florida Softshell Turtle and the Spiny Softshell Turtle. These two types usually cost around $30 to $60 each. Read more if you want to buy softshell turtle species.

Care Guidelines for Softshell Turtles

Here are 10 care guidelines for Softshell turtles that you should follow if you plan on keeping them as pets.

Tank Size:

Softshell turtles need a spacious tank to move around, so the minimum size of the tank should be at least three times the length of your turtle.

Heat and Light:

Like other reptiles, softshell turtles require basking spots and UVB lighting to thrive. You’ll need to provide heat lamps and a full-spectrum light source inside their tanks.

Water Quality:

Softshell turtles spend most of their time in the water, so keeping their environment clean by doing regular water changes is essential.


A balanced diet is crucial for maintaining healthy softshell turtles. They are omnivores and eat plant-based foods like vegetables and fruits and protein-rich sources such as insects or small fishes.

Calcium Supplements:

In addition to proper nutrition, calcium supplements can help ensure healthy bone growth in your pet turtle.

Habitat Enrichment:

Like many other animals, softshell turtles need stimulation within their habitats, including hiding places or live plants that mimic their natural habitat environments.

Handling Guidelines:

Though tameable over time with consistent handling from an early age, they may feel threatened when handled roughly, which could result in aggressive behaviour towards humans when they grow up.

Temperature Control:

The temperature inside the tank must remain consistent; otherwise, it could lead to stress-related health issues for your pet turtle.

Health Checks-ups:

 Annual check-ups by a qualified veterinarian will help identify potential health problems before they become more severe.

Cleanliness & Maintenance:

Regular cleaning is necessary since accumulated waste matter could cause skin irritations, leading to infections.

By following these care guidelines consistently, you can ensure your softshell turtle remains healthy throughout its life span!

Softshell Turtle Facts: BIGGEST freshwater TURTLE | Animal Fact Files


Softshell turtles are fascinating creatures that make great pets for those willing to put in the effort and time to care for them properly. They have unique characteristics and behaviours that can captivate any animal lover.

It is important to note that owning a softshell turtle requires a significant commitment. You must be prepared to provide them with proper housing, diet, and environment if you want your pet to thrive.

Research their specific needs and requirements before deciding on getting a softshell turtle as your pet. Consult with experts or professionals for guidance on giving the best care possible.

If you decide owning a softshell turtle is right, carefully follow the 10 care guidelines outlined above. These tips will help ensure your pet stays healthy and happy.

While they may not be the easiest pets to care for, having a softshell turtle can be an incredibly rewarding experience. With patience and dedication towards caring for these unique animals, you’ll have an amazing companion!

I hope this article has helped provide you with a comprehensive guide to properly caring for softshell turtles.

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.

1 thought on “What Is A Softshell Turtle? Proper Guideline To You”

Leave a Comment