Eastern spiny softshell turtle

Eastern spiny softshell turtle

Latin name: Apalone spinifera spinifera

Like a Torpedo!

  • Unlike most turtles, it doesn't have a shell! Instead, it's covered by a thick leathery skin. Lighter, it's much faster in water than most other turtle species.
  • Its long neck allows it to keep its body underwater and use its snout as snorkel. Although it can remain completely submerged for 5 hours, it rarely exceeds 20 minutes.
  • Archeological digs at the historic Fort Chambly site suggest that this reptile was on the soldiers' menu in the 1700's since its bones were found where the kitchens were located.
  • It enjoys a long lifespan: between 50 and 60 years in the wild!
  • It is threatened with extinction in Canada. In Québec, it can only be found in Lake Champlain. Modifications brought to the shorelines where they nest, predation on the eggs as well as disturbance by human aquatic recreational activities are threatening this species.
  • Distribution

    Northeastern U.S.

  • Habitat


  • Diet


  • Status

    Least concern

  • Zoo Zone

    The Temple (inside)