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The Florida Softshell Turtle is one of the largest freshwater turtles in North America, and the largest of the Apalone genus. It has a dark brown to olive green, leathery carapace. The underside (plastron) is white or cream. They have a long neck, an elongated head, with a long nose. Juvenile turtles are olive or yellowish with grey spots and a yellow lined carapace, and a gray plastron. The juveniles also yellow and orange markings on the head. The markings fade as the turtle ages. Florida Softshell Turtles may bite when threatened. They are fast moving on land and in the water.
Found in ponds, streams, rivers, lakes and swamps. They prefer still water. Florida Softshell Turtles are mainly aquatic and only come onto land to bask or to lay eggs.
I have to admit, I have never seen a softshell on land. Not sure, but I think this one may have been nesting, as it was spotted along one of the birding trails a good distance from the water. Normally if they are just sun basking, they are close to the water's edge. http://www.wildlifenorthamerica.com/wild... After taking a few photos, we walked past leaving it be. On our return trip it was no longer there, so we assumed it returned to the water.