Thursday, July 11, 2013
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 :)