Softshell Turtles: Trionychidae
Behavior And Reproduction
For the most part, these turtles remain hidden for much of the day. They fall to the bottom of the lake, pond, or other watering hole where they live and wiggle their bodies back and forth until they are buried. When they move about in the water, they are excellent swimmers. Many species sunbathe, or bask, to warm their bodies. Some spend several hours a day basking on logs that stick up out of the water or on the shoreline, but they typically dash back into the water at even the slightest disturbance. Some prefer to sunbathe by simply floating in the top layer of water. They can breathe through the nose, but they can also get oxygen directly from the water, so they can stay below the surface for long periods of time. Those that live in colder areas enter a state of deep sleep, or hibernation (high-bur-NAY-shun), in the winter. During this period, which may last several months, they bury themselves in the sand or mud at the water bottom to wait for spring and warmer temperatures to come.
Softshell turtles usually mate each spring, although females can actually mate one year and have young from that single mating for several years. In some species, the male attracts the female by rubbing his chin on her carapace and bobbing his head at her. The female lays her round eggs in sandy, dry spots on shore. Depending on the species, a female may lay three to one hundred eggs at a time and have more than one clutch a year. The nests contain both male and female hatchlings, regardless of the nest temperature. In many other turtles, nest temperature controls the number of eggs that become male or female, but this is not known to occur in softshell turtles.
- Softshell Turtles: Trionychidae - Conservation Status
- Softshell Turtles: Trionychidae - Habitat
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Animal Life ResourceDinosaurs, Snakes, and Other ReptilesSoftshell Turtles: Trionychidae - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Conservation Status, Spiny Softshell (apalone Spinifera): Species Account - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, SOFTSHELL TURTLES AND PEOPLE