Animal Stories - Spiny Soft-shelled Turtle

Animal-World Information about: Spiny Soft-shelled Turtle

   There is no mistaking a Spiny Soft-shelled Turtle, is often described as being 'pancake like' and having a 'pig snout'!
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Carol Lee - 2011-07-31
I found 2 young (not babies) Apalones in a pet shop. They were in a ten-gallon tank, and just going nuts trying to get out. I bought them and a 55-gallon tank on the spot. They have settled into their new home nicely and seem okay.

They act and look healthy with the exception that their shells are curling up in the rear. What causes that and what should I do? Is it calcium-related? I want to help them but don't know how. I live in a small town and would have to drive more than 50 miles to a herp. I hope someone knows what is wrong with them. Thank you so much for your help.

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  • Editor's Note - 2011-08-30
    I think the curling up as you refer to is natural as they are soft shell and the tail curls downward which has the shell sort of attached to it. So, it would naturally tip down when the tail does. If I'm wrong, I'd like to know. My son just brought one of these turtles (baby) to me that he found at his shop-he's a welder and the shop is right next to a pond.
  • kevin doyle - 2011-08-31
    I had the same problem with my spiny soft shell turtle. The back of his shell began to turn up at a 45 degree angle. The shell was turned up on both sides and the back of the shell as well. The pet store told me that I did not have enough uv light in the tank. I had him in a ten gallon tank with a ceramic coated uv bulb. I was hesitant about buying an additional light source, but saw a used one in the store for only $25, so I bought it. The additional light was a strip light (flourescent uv bulb). It only took a week and his shell is perfect, just as the day I bought him.
  • Carol Lee - 2011-09-13
    The curling up is NOT natural. These are not my first soft-shells; just the first ones I have ever seen with this curling-shell problem. The curling is pathological, not normal; that much I know out of my own experience.
  • Carol Lee - 2011-09-13
    Kevin: Thank you so much. Several herps (on the phone) did not know the answer to this. Do you happen to know whether your bulb was UVA or UVB? I don't know what these letters mean in terms of the difference between the two; only that the pet store has both. Perhaps there is another kind that is both? See how ignorant I am? Any help is extremely much appreciated as I am now completely in love with these two little clowns.
  • Wyatt holcomb - 2011-10-04
    Do yuo have a uvb light and a basking spot?
regina - 2006-11-13
My 17 year old son gave me a soft shell turtle for my birthday. I don't know a whole lot about them. He sits in his little home here by my computer desk. I change his water every other day. This seems to make him happy. There are 2 baby guppies that share his home. I am not sure if he will eat guppies but so far he hasn't.

chris brown - 2011-10-13
My soft shell has not been eating lately and i don't know why?

rebecca - 2011-10-12
I have had a spiny for approximately 3 years now and I just got two more but they are about half my other ones size...will my larger one harm or kill my smaller ones?

Sammy - 2009-09-11
I have 2 soft shell turtles, I cannot figure out what is wrong with one of them. A couple of days ago I noticed one not moving around and not wanting to eat. all it wants to do is lay on it's perch under the light. Any Ideas what might be wrong.

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  • Anonymous - 2010-10-10
    It might be sick.
  • sylvia romero - 2010-11-09
    Mine and my sisters soft shell turtle has been doing that too! Idk what to do and we are scared that it might die:( did you find any solutions that might help us too!?

  • Anonymous - 2011-03-01
    I own a turtle myself and that story is very sad. I named my turtle Dots. They are very cute turtles.
  • gil - 2011-06-07
    A drastic change in behavior and it not wanting to eat could mean that it's a pregnant female.
  • jonah - 2011-08-05
    It's because they don't like how the tank looks. Think of there enviorment (they like plants sand/mud/rocks in there tank. Hope I helped
  • Kevin Doyle - 2011-08-31
    I agree with Jonah. I have a softshell, red ear slider and a pascagoula map turtle. I just upgraded from a ten galllon tank to a thirty gallon tank. I bought a product called a "viquarium" from a company called tetra fauna. After I set it up in my tank, I noticed allot more activity from all turtles. My softshell even burries himself under the dry rocks (I read that they do this in the wild, but he never did it when I just had them in the water with rocks at the bottom). The terrarium cost me $99 from a local pet store. I probably could have gotten it cheaper online, but when I saw it, I just had to have it. Feel free to email me and I will send pictures.
  • Kevin Doyle - 2011-08-31
    I also read that you should de-chlorinate the water that you put the turtles in. Also, I read that your tank should have about one tea spoon of salt per gallon of water, because the salt helps the turtles utilize the vitamin D more effectively for their shells. I actually put about two tea spoons of sea salt in ten gallons of water and my turtles have had no problem.
Mia - 2011-08-28
I found an injured soft-shelled turtle and brought it home. It seemed alright on the outside, and it's bleeding a little on and off from it's neck and mouth. Is there anything I can do for it besides taking it to a vet? Thank you!

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  • adrienne - 2011-08-30
    He has to see a vet, he probably has internal bleeding and he could get an infection from outside wounds. he needs antibiotic. if he starts weezing, then he has a respitory infection, nothing you can do for that either. Vets don't cost that much for a turtle, my brother took his and the visit was $35.00 and the medicine is around 30. They will work with you if you explain your situation. I hope he is ok.
Editor's Note - 2011-08-23
I have some baby spiny at home. Some of them are sick now, they're dying slowly. They have this pimple-like spots in their body. Please help...thanks

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-23
    Animal World article attached and I can't find anything else out regarding ailments that isn't covered in the Animal World article. Try reading this first OK?
jonah - 2011-08-05
Hello. My name is Jonah. I currently have 1 baby spiny softshell turtle living in my pond. It's shy around me but likes to be alone. I want it in a tank so I can see it everyday and I think it's better because the water in the pond is filthy,please help.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-05
    The Spiny doesn't really make for a great pet. They get large and can be pretty agressive. They will bite. Yours is young and there is no reason you can't see him every day. They like the water and to house them would take a big area as they do get big. Have you thought about just taking food out to him at approximately the same time every day? You might make a friend.
  • Janell - 2011-08-19
    Hi. I have a spiny softshell that we've had for about 3+ years now. My son found her in the pool at the grandparents house when she was just a tiny hatchling. We've had her in one aquarium after another - they can grow really fast! We're looking into making a pond for her now - she's outgrowing the 125 gallon tank that she currently lives in. If you can catch your turtle with a net, you could put it in a tank, but it may miss its freedom. You will need a light for reptiles, and a heater for your water. d also find out if it's a male for female before you make this decision - females get bigger. It has been a joy for us having her in the tank, but it's been an expensive one! I buy semi-aggressive fish for her as tank-mates, but occassionally she eats them. I do buy her feeder-fish (rosys), but she hasn't touched the last ones, but decided to snack on my clown loaches instead... Just a few things to consider. Hope that helps! Good luck!
Pam - 2011-07-12
Do they breathe like fish? Do they need to get out of the water much? I put one in my pond with walled sides that turtles rarely can get out of. The next day it was in my swimming pool somehow. I put it back in the pond and have never seen it since. I see all of my other turtles swimming around and taking turns basking in the sun. Where do you think this one is? My turtle pond is inside the pool fence which others haven't escaped from and my yard has a block wall. - I can't imagine anything being able to get out.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-07-12
    They breathe out of water. If your little guy is enclosed in, there has to be someway he is hiding. He might have just gotten lost. I doubt he would just walk out when a door was open but it happens. Pool filter? Just look everywhere. OK? If he can't get out, he has to be in.
  • felicity - 2011-08-02
    They do not breathe like fish but will lay buried in whatever they can bury themselvs in. sand,loose gravel rock or plant matter. They need to be able to bury themselvs when frightened or they can become stressed, and they also hunt that way. Usually with their shell all but the top buried ( hence its coloring ) to where their heads can extend out for a breath (hence the long neck) and they will await a fishy to swim can over look them and never know it. Sneaky!
Krystal Dotson - 2011-08-01
Found something that looked like this in Indania. It was HUGE!! Bigger than a basketball.

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  • Charlie Roche - 2011-08-02
    Bet you were surpirsed. What did you do?