Thursday, July 11, 2013

Florida Softshell

I had the opportunity to sketch from a live model last week.... a female Florida Softshell turtle.

An amazing critter.  The females can grow to 24 3/4 inches long!!  This gal was in a dishpan while I sketched.  Every now and then she'd stretch her neck and look over the side.  I'd gently tap the dishpan with my foot and she'd tuck her neck back in.

My Peterson Field Guide says that the Softshell is the heaviest and bulkiest of all the North American Softshells, but the species with the smallest range.  Here in Beaufort County South Carolina, we are at the top of it's range.  It continues south to include all of Florida and stretches west to Alabama.  Its range is kind of triangle in shape.

I saw my first Softshell about a year ago. A delivery man had stopped his truck to aid one across the street.  Upon seeing the turtle, I had to pull over, too.  Never before had I seen such a large, strange looking turtle!  He kept trying to pick it up.  The turtle would gather its legs from underneath and lunge into the air!  Feisty one!  Well, when I reached down and gently stroke my model's shell, the same thing happened..... Okay.  I get it.... Do Not Touch the Carapace of a Softshell :)

12 comments:

  1. Yeah. It probably tickles. Great sketch PJ and what an interesting critter.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kitchy, kitchy, koo.... Tee hee :) Thanks, Paula!

      Delete
  2. Hi Pam, love your sketch . Here in Central Florida I have so many of them right in my small back lake.. Every day I throw bread and crackers, and now have a following LOL !
    all sizes from a teacup to a turkey platter.. !!!
    They are very strange looking , little beady eyes and that funny snout..
    I've picked up a few off the road also .. yes that's what they do.. lunge forward so you have to get a good grip !!
    Nature is beautiful...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Barbra Joan! What a delight to be able to have a following :)

      Delete
  3. Thank you for posting, it is very interesting. I lived in the everglades as a kid for awhile and never saw one of these. I saw many big snappers and alligators which I must say I'm still in love with till this day. Nature is amazing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you, Lynne! I did get a photo of a snapper's head. My boss wanted to make sure I saw it's red tongue that is used to lure fish.... what a prehistoric looking fellow.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wonderful sketch of a very odd turtle. I hope to see one someday!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Not only gorgeous page but I've never heard of this type of turtle! Thanks for the introduction!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Jeanette! Every now and then Nature gives you a peek at the unseen. Love those moments!

      Delete
  7. Pam, we have plenty in the tiny lake behind our house. One is a rescue I found banged up, scratched and bleeding at the side of a road. Victim of an automobile tire. Come on down and we'll call our turtles to come pose for you!

    ReplyDelete

We'd love to hear from you, your questions, comments, observations! Please feel free to comment, feedback is important to us.