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Texas Softshell (Apalone [Trionyx] spiniferus emoryi)
Spiny Softshell (Apalone [Trionyx] spiniferus)
Turtles Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Texas Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus emoryi)

General Description: A light colored water turtle with a long snout and a flat, leathery shell.

Taxonomy: Softshell Turtles (Trionychidae).

Technical Description: Shell size to 18 inches. Shell extremely flat (like a pair of pancakes), flexible, and leathery (not hard as is typical of most turtles). Neck long and flexible. Nostrils at the end of a long, pig-like snout. Feet webbed to form large, broad paddles.

Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Broad, flat, leathery shell (Rogers Spring)

Diet: A lie-in-wait, ambush hunter, these turtles hide in the mud at the bottom of a pond and prey on passing crayfish, aquatic insects, worms, tadpoles, and aquarium fish.

Habitat: Slow moving water in rivers and ponds.

Range: Softshells are basically eastern turtles, but this species ranges along the US-Mexico border in Texas and New Mexico, with disjunct populations in south-central Arizona (Gila River) and along the lower Colorado River north to the southwest edge of Utah. Considered rare in our area, these turtles can occasionally be seen in the pond at Rogers Spring and Las Vegas Bay (both in Lake Mead NRA) and in the Las Vegas Wash in the Las Vegas Valley.

Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Long, double-barreled, pig-like snout

Breeding: Digs nest in sandy banks and lay 1-2 clutches of up to 33 eggs in the spring and summer.

Similar Species: No other turtles in Nevada have flat, pancake-like shells.

Comments: These turtles bite.

Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Good News for our Softshell Friends: effective November 21, 2016, the common snapping turtle, Florida softshell turtle, smooth softshell turtle, and spiny softshell turtle are listed in Appendix III of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). When listed under CITES, international trade in the species, either as live specimens or parts or products, must be accompanied by a valid CITES permit or certificate. Permits ensure trade is conducted at sustainable levels and provides a means to balance use and conservation.
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Rogers Spring
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Las Vegas Wash
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus)
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx spiniferus) more to come
More to come ...

Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 161124

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