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Florida Softshell Turtle (Trionyx ferox)

Florida Softshell Turtle (Trionyx ferox)
Copyright ©2007, Leon Plympton
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I nearly stumbled over this large female softshell turtle earlier today while trekking through Paynes Prairie. Male softshell turtles, which are quite a bit smaller, are rarely (if ever) seen out of the water in the wild, and about the only time you'll see a female softshell turtle out of water is when she is laying eggs - which is what this specimen is doing.

This photograph doesn't show just how overgrown with vegetation the ground here is, but rest assured it is filled with intertwined roots, making the task of digging a hole for egg laying extremely difficult. Making matters worse was the ambient temperature (92 degrees - Fahrenheit). This female was huffing and puffing while she toiled in the sun. She was clearly spooked by my arrival at this rather delicate time, so I only stayed long enough to take a few photos.

Photographer: Leon Plympton
Folder: Common area
Uploaded: 08-Jul-2007 02:59 CEST
Current Rating: 8.50/2
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Model release available:
Camera: Olympus E1
Exposure time: 1/1000
Aperture: f5.6
Focal length: 150 (300) mm
Lens: Zuiko 40-150mm
Focusing method: Spot
ISO: 200
White balance: Auto
Flash: no
Image format: SHQ
Processing applied: SHQ / 50% crop / re-sized / adjustments to brightness, color saturation, sharpening and noise minimization.
Image resized to: 600x800

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great image

Terrence Credlin at 04:56 CEST on 08-Jul-2007 [Reply]

(Trionyx ferox) - re-visited:

Nigel -

Thanks, and sorry to hear that (re: your mother-in-law :-)).


Leon Plympton at 15:02 CEST on 08-Jul-2007 [Reply]

(Trionyx ferox) - re-re-visited:

Terrence -

G'Day - and thank you, sir.

BTW: I forgot to mention in my initial posting that this photo approximates a life-size image of this specimen. I also forgot to mention that these carnivores have razor sharp dentition below their fleshy skin; in this image you get a glimpse of her upper dental work, which appears to have a good bit of algae growing on it. When these turtles strike (and they do have rather long necks) they do so with a vengeance and in an instant you can lose a digit or two. And a final thought - I also forgot to mention that while these critters have a face that only a mother could love they are considered a real delicacy; some folks insist they're much better than gator.


Leon Plympton at 15:17 CEST on 08-Jul-2007 [Reply]


An incredible animal.
The face is amazing...
Great shot.
Best Regards
Bruno Nardin

Bruno Nardin at 00:50 CEST on 09-Jul-2007 [Reply]


Bruno -

Thanks so much. I agree; she does have a rather unforgettable face.


Leon Plympton at 13:27 CEST on 09-Jul-2007 [Reply]


Funny face....;-))
Great looking Mother in Law tho...;-))


Fonzy - at 15:30 CEST on 09-Jul-2007 [Reply]

Florida Softshell Turtle - re-visited:

Shelley -

Thanks so much and sorry for not replying sooner. I just got a new laptop and it's taken me a while to get it up and running.


Leon Plympton at 04:40 CEST on 29-Jul-2007 [Reply]