Softshell Mystery

ApoloneI spotted a snouty silhouette in the Lake the other day.ApoloneIt was a turtle of a type I’ve never seen before. The snout suggests some kind of softshell, although the shell doesn’t look so typical for those turtles. I queried Twitter and there were suggestions it’s in the Apolone genus, creatures that live in our South and Midwest. In which case, it would be another victim of the PPT (Pernicious Pet Trade) and the irresponsible consumer who dumped it here. Another suggestion was that it’s the Chinese softshell, P. sinesis, perhaps originating in a Chinatown fish market. But the eyes seem like they are in the wrong place for that. So it remains a mystery… your Testudinal expertise is welcome. The length of this critter is 6-7″. ApaloneSoftshells get their name from their shells, which are unlike the hard bony cases of the turtles we’re more familiar with up here. The face, with its pyramidal snout, is obviously different, too. And on this specimen, the claws are almost fully webbed so that they look more like paddles than feet.

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