The Florida softshell turtle typically has a dark brown to olive green, leathery carapace with a white or cream colored underside, which provides the turtle with effective protection from some predators. They have a long neck, an elongated head, with a long snorkel-like nose. Juveniles have dark blotching, which fades as they age. On some occasions,Florida softshell turtles can sprint quickly back into a pond or lake to get away from danger. They grow to a large size, ranging from 15–76 cm (5.9–30 in) in length. They are the largest of all the species in the genus Apalone and the largest soft-shell turtles in North America. Females are larger with males only reaching about 35 cm (14 in). A male of this species weighed 4.77 kg (10.5 lb), whereas females can typically range up to 20 kg (44 lb). Exceptionally, females can tip the scales at as much as 43.6 kg (96 lb). The juveniles are olive-yellow with grey spots and a yellow lined carapace. Juveniles also have yellow and orange markings on the head and a gray plastron. These marking disappear as it ages, although adults sometimes show traces of the markings.
© Through My Lens - Dennis W. Donohue