Spiny Softshell Apalone spinifera

Description: Females 7 - 17 inches, males 5 - 9ΒΌ inches. Spiny Softshell Turtles have a soft, flat, flexible upper shell (carapace). They are often described as looking like chocolate chip pancakes, even being called "pancake turtles" by some people. The front edge of the upper shell is lined with spines and bumps giving the turtle its name. The nostrils are D-shaped with a small ridge on the inside edge. Male Spiny Softshell Turtles have a slightly longer tail than females.

Similar Species: Smooth Softshell Turtles are similar in appearance, but lack the spines and bumps on the front edge of the upper shell, and have round nostrils with no ridge.

Comments: Minnesota's most common softshell turtle. Occurs in rivers and some lakes.

Distribution Map
Distribution of the Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera)

This map is generated from data provided by the Bell Museum of Natural History and HerpMapper.org. Please help us keep it up-to-date by submitting your amphibian and reptile observations.

Phenology of Spiny Softshell (Apalone spinifera)