Eastern Spiny Softshell ranges in size from 5-17 inches. The
carapace (upper shell) is leathery and olive to brown in color with spiny
or bumpy projections. A male's carapace has eye spots (ocelli),
while the female's carapace has dark blotches. The plastron (lower
shell) is hingeless. The feet are strongly patterned with stripes
and spots. Each nostril has a ridge on the inner portion.
Habitat: Found primarily in
rivers, but can be found in lakes, oxbows and sloughs.
Behavior: The spiny
softshell spends most of its time in water, although it will climb onto
sandy bars to bask. The are extremely alert and will head for water
at the slightest movement. Sex of young is not
temperature-dependent. Spiny softshells are primarily carnivorous,
feeding on insects, mollusks, crayfish and fish.