How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get



How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get

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How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get

Softshell turtles are a fascinating species of turtles that are known for their unique physical characteristics, including their lack of a hard bony shell and their elongated, leathery carapace. These turtles are also admired as active swimmers and excellent hunters. If you are considering getting a softshell turtle as a pet or simply want to learn more about them, one important question you may have is: how big do softshell turtles get? In this article, we will explore the growth patterns and size ranges of softshell turtles.

1. Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle (Apalone spinifera)

The Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, also known as the Common Spiny Softshell Turtle, is one of the most widespread species of softshell turtles found in North America. These turtles can grow to be quite large, with females being notably larger than males. Adult females can reach an impressive size of 7 to 18 inches (18 to 46 cm) in length, while adult males typically measure between 5 to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm).

How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get


2. Florida Softshell Turtle (Apalone ferox)

The Florida Softshell Turtle is another common species of softshell turtle found in the southeastern United States. While not as large as the Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle, Florida Softshell Turtles can still grow to be sizable. Adult females of this species can range in size from 9.8 to 19.7 inches (25 to 50 cm) in length, while adult males are usually smaller, measuring around 6.7 to 15 inches (17 to 38 cm).

How Big Do Softshell Turtles Get


3. Indian Softshell Turtle (Nilssonia gangetica)

The Indian Softshell Turtle, also known as the Indian Peacock Softshell Turtle, is commonly found in South Asia. This species of softshell turtle can grow to be much larger compared to its North American counterparts. Adult females can reach an astonishing length of 36 inches (91 cm) and sometimes even larger, making them one of the largest species of softshell turtles in the world.

4. Chinese Softshell Turtle (Pelodiscus sinensis)

The Chinese Softshell Turtle is native to China and is widely kept as a pet due to its smaller size compared to other softshell turtle species. Adult females of this species usually grow to be around 6 to 10 inches (15 to 25 cm), while adult males are generally smaller, measuring around 4 to 7 inches (10 to 18 cm). These turtles are well-known for their characteristic round shape and unique appearance.

Factors Affecting Size

It is important to note that while the size ranges provided are common for each species, individual softshell turtles may vary in size depending on various factors. These factors include genetics, diet, habitat, and overall health. Turtles that have access to a suitable and nutritious diet, proper care, and a spacious habitat to swim and grow are more likely to reach their maximum potential size.


Softshell turtles come in a variety of species and sizes. Each species has its own unique growth pattern and specific size ranges. Whether you prefer a large, impressive turtle like the Indian Softshell Turtle or a smaller, more manageable pet like the Chinese Softshell Turtle, there is a softshell turtle that can suit your preferences and captivate you with its distinctive characteristics. Remember to provide your softshell turtle with the appropriate care, including a well-balanced diet, ample swimming space, and a suitable habitat, to ensure its healthy growth and overall well-being.

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