Spiny Softshell Turtle
Harley was donated to Schlitz Audubon in 2000 by a local naturalist. He lived with our educational animal ambassador collection until moving to a permanent public display in our Great Hall in 2013.
Harley’s Hatch Year: est. 1999
Weight: 1/3 pound (male), 15 pounds (female) – The weight of female spiny softshells really can be that much more than males!
Shell length: 9 inches (male), 18 inches (female)
Distribution and Habitat: Found throughout most of Wisconsin. Prefers rivers and streams with soft, muddy, or sandy bottoms.
Diet: Omnivorous. Feed on aquatic animals and plants.
Lifespan in the Wild: 20 years
Lifespan in Captivity: 40–50 years
Fun Fact: When underwater, the linings of their mouths and cloacal openings can pull oxygen from the water, so they can breathe!
More About My Species: Spiny softshell turtles are unique with their soft, skin-like shells. Often called the ‘pancake’ turtle, they appear very flat when basking. Spiny softshells bury themselves on the bottoms of riverbeds to hide when they are not feeding. Their snorkel-like nose can help find food as well as reach above water for air.