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AWESOME!! By far the coolest animal that still roams the southeast US. I'd absolutely love to stumble upon one of these beauties. I haven't seen one in the wild since I was really young... there are only a few patches in western GA where they supposedly still inhabit. Guess I should make a trip to 'Bama :)
Aww, young softshells are so much fun! My brother had a keen eye for ss hatchlings when we were younger and I can't remember a time when we didn't have at least one digging into the aquarium sand and just sticking their little heads out. They are not always the nicest, but I kind of like their spunky attitudes. I can't say I blame them if they are irritable. It seems almost wrong to be a turtle and not have that nice, keratinized shell for protection.
Mike, the tagged is placed by first making a small incision in the thin top layer of skin under the hind leg and injecting the little tag with the VI alpha tag injector. The tags are fluorescent and glow when using the VI light (essentially a black light flashlight). There is a liquid form of visible implant elastomer tags which is also really cool. I've added a link which explains both of these if you're interested in knowing more :)
Wow, amazing photo... what a great perspective! And awesome blog as well! It appears we almost have overlapping stomping grounds. I'm from Vidalia, GA... I absolutely love the diversity of herps around here. Can't imagine growing up without it :)
It's probably a female. They have noticeably smaller eardrums (technically called tympanums) than males, even at a young age. Great photo by the way... I'm shocked you were able to get this close with an iphone without her hopping away :)