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Softshell

Yvonne G

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Someone must've thought I needed a new softshell turtle in my pond. I discovered this one this a.m.:

softshell 6-16-19 a.jpg softshell 6-16-19 b.jpg

He was laying on the bank, dry, and didn't move when he saw me. I tapped his shell to make sure he's alive, and he flinched, but didn't scramble away.

I have a pair of Florida softshells, but both of mine are quite a bit bigger than this one, so I knew he was a new inhabitant. I placed him in the water and his movement alerted me to the fact he's either blind or has a neurological problem. So I went and cleaned out a tub and put some water in it then went back to get the turtle.

Naturally, when I went back there, he's nowhere to be seen. So I went about my business of operating the line trimmer around the edge of the pond. I spotted him swimming. His neck was so far out of the water he looked like a periscope. This is NOT how softshell turtles swim. He bumped into the side wall and turned and kept swimming. Well, I eventually was able to capture him and place him in the tub of shallow water.

I have no idea how to treat a neurological problem, so I'm just going to have to let nature take its course. I'll dangle food in front of him and make sure his water is clean, and hope for the best.
 
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Ben02

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Brighton, Southcoast, UK
Someone must've thought I needed a new softshell turtle in my pond. I discovered this on this a.m.:

View attachment 274819 View attachment 274820

He was laying on the bank, dry, and didn't move when he saw me. I tapped his shell to make sure he's alive, and he flinched, but didn't scramble away.

I have a pair of Florida softshells, but both of mine are quite a bit bigger than this one, so I knew he was a new inhabitant. I placed him in the water and his movement alerted me to the fact he's either blind or has a neurological problem. So I went and cleaned out a tub and put some water in it then went back to get the turtle.

Naturally, when I went back there, he's nowhere to be seen. So I went about my business of operating the line trimmer around the edge of the pond. I spotted him swimming. His neck was so far out of the water he looked like a periscope. This is NOT how softshell turtles swim. He bumped into the side wall and turned and kept swimming. Well, I eventually was able to capture him and place him in the tub of shallow water.

I have no idea how to treat a neurological problem, so I'm just going to have to let nature take its course. I'll dangle food in front of him and make sure his water is clean, and hope for the best.
Hey Yvonne, do there shells feel pliable like a young tortoise or are they a bit more spongy? I’ve thought about it for a while but never asked.
 

Yvonne G

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They're like soft shoe leather. You can bend the sides. Much more pliable than a young tortoise.
 

Yvonne G

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Does that make them lighter in the water or another reason?
You're asking why they evolved that way? Here's what my friend, Google, has to say about that:

The light and flexible shell of these turtles allows them to move more easily in open water, or in muddy lake bottoms. Having a soft shell also allows them to move much faster on land than most turtles.
 

Yvonne G

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I think normally these turtles smoosh themselves back and forth, back and forth in the sandy bottom of a stream or lake to bury in the sand, then stretch their neck up to the top of the water until only their nostrils are above the water. They have a VERY long neck. Then they lay there buried with only their head exposed, waiting to snap up an unsuspecting meal.
 

Ben02

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You're asking why they evolved that way? Here's what my friend, Google, has to say about that:

The light and flexible shell of these turtles allows them to move more easily in open water, or in muddy lake bottoms. Having a soft shell also allows them to move much faster on land than most turtles.
Good old google:D
 

Yvonne G

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Well he's not holding his head off to the side anymore, and is more active when I pick him up. He ate. So I guess maybe there was just something bruised. I've been keeping him in a smallish tub, so he can't move around much to allow for healing. Dang! I thought I had gotten out of the adoption business. Anybody want a male softshell?
 

Yvonne G

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Yesterday as I was walking past my pond I saw my female Florida softshell sitting on the bank and she was holding her neck extended as far as it would go up in the air. A few years ago she got injured on her left eye and it now has scar tissue over it, so she can only see out of her right eye. Well, it was the left eye that was towards the fence where I was, so I felt sure I could rush into the house and get my camera before she changed positions. Well, as luck would have it, she had pulled her head down, but she was still out of the water and on the bank, so I got a couple pictures for you. She's almost 2' long (well, maybe a foot and a half), quite a nice sized turtle:

softshell 6-25-19 a.jpg softshell 6-25-19 b.jpg
 

Yvonne G

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And because they could see me next to the fence, when she jumped back in the water, the Phrynops hillarii and a large RES came out of the water for their picture. She's not quite as big as the softshell, maybe a foot long, and the RES is no slouch either:

phrynops hillari 6-25-19 a.jpg phrynops hillari 6-25-19 b.jpg

This is an old picture, but I wanted you to see her beautiful face:Phrynops hillari 7-5-12 b.jpg
 

TammyJ

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Jamaica
And because they could see me next to the fence, when she jumped back in the water, the Phrynops hillarii and a large RES came out of the water for their picture. She's not quite as big as the softshell, maybe a foot long, and the RES is no slouch either:

View attachment 275463 View attachment 275464

This is an old picture, but I wanted you to see her beautiful face:View attachment 275465
WOW! Spectacular! What's the common name for the Phrynops hillarii?
 

TammyJ

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Messages
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Location (City and/or State)
Jamaica
Someone must've thought I needed a new softshell turtle in my pond. I discovered this one this a.m.:

View attachment 274819 View attachment 274820

He was laying on the bank, dry, and didn't move when he saw me. I tapped his shell to make sure he's alive, and he flinched, but didn't scramble away.

I have a pair of Florida softshells, but both of mine are quite a bit bigger than this one, so I knew he was a new inhabitant. I placed him in the water and his movement alerted me to the fact he's either blind or has a neurological problem. So I went and cleaned out a tub and put some water in it then went back to get the turtle.

Naturally, when I went back there, he's nowhere to be seen. So I went about my business of operating the line trimmer around the edge of the pond. I spotted him swimming. His neck was so far out of the water he looked like a periscope. This is NOT how softshell turtles swim. He bumped into the side wall and turned and kept swimming. Well, I eventually was able to capture him and place him in the tub of shallow water.

I have no idea how to treat a neurological problem, so I'm just going to have to let nature take its course. I'll dangle food in front of him and make sure his water is clean, and hope for the best.
Are the softshells generally jumpy and insular?
 

Moozillion

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Apr 26, 2012
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Louisiana, USA
Yesterday as I was walking past my pond I saw my female Florida softshell sitting on the bank and she was holding her neck extended as far as it would go up in the air. A few years ago she got injured on her left eye and it now has scar tissue over it, so she can only see out of her right eye. Well, it was the left eye that was towards the fence where I was, so I felt sure I could rush into the house and get my camera before she changed positions. Well, as luck would have it, she had pulled her head down, but she was still out of the water and on the bank, so I got a couple pictures for you. She's almost 2' long (well, maybe a foot and a half), quite a nice sized turtle:

View attachment 275461 View attachment 275462
WOW!!! That’s one COOL looking turtle![emoji2]
 

Moozillion

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5 Year Member
Platinum Tortoise Club
Joined
Apr 26, 2012
Messages
10,246
Location (City and/or State)
Louisiana, USA

Ben02

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 21, 2018
Messages
1,800
Location (City and/or State)
Brighton, Southcoast, UK
Yesterday as I was walking past my pond I saw my female Florida softshell sitting on the bank and she was holding her neck extended as far as it would go up in the air. A few years ago she got injured on her left eye and it now has scar tissue over it, so she can only see out of her right eye. Well, it was the left eye that was towards the fence where I was, so I felt sure I could rush into the house and get my camera before she changed positions. Well, as luck would have it, she had pulled her head down, but she was still out of the water and on the bank, so I got a couple pictures for you. She's almost 2' long (well, maybe a foot and a half), quite a nice sized turtle:

View attachment 275461 View attachment 275462
Look at those bright eyes!
 

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