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Canada's Species   Amphibians and reptiles

Spiny Softshell

Trionyx spiniferus

Photo:David Rodrigue
Spiny Softshell. Photo:David Rodrigue

Like the gigantic leatherback, these turtles are some of the few to have a layer of leathery skin covering the carapace, hence the name of softshell. The males of this species have tiny spines covering the carapace, while the females only have them along the front edge. It is largely aquatic, tending even when on dry land to remain close to water, usually where there are sand or mud bars. Spiny softshells can be very aggressive if captured or cornered, so one should be careful around them especially considering they can reach over half a meter in total length.

Map of Spiny Softshell in Canada
Distribution of Spiny Softshell in Canada

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