The Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera) native range is as far west as Montana in the Missouri River drainage to as far east as eastern New York and as far south as Mexico. They have been introduced into multiple river systems in the Atlantic slope as well as numerous western states (Daniel, 2019). Inhabiting a wide range of aquatic habitats, these predatory aquatic reptiles can be found in ponds, lakes, streams and rivers across their range, and can tolerate degraded habitat conditions found in many urban streams. Primarily consumers of crayfish, Spiny Softshells will also opportunistically eat insects, amphibians and fish. Breeding occurs in May and females can lay as many as 38 eggs, which she buries in lose sediment or sand. Apalone spinifera can grow up to 17 inches in length and live as long as 50 years.


Daniel, W.M., and Morningstar, C. 2019. Apalone spinifera (Lesueur, 1827): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL,, Revision Date: 3/1/2019, Access Date: 8/18/2019