Florida Softshell Turtle

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Phinny12

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My friend found a Florida Softshell Turtle walking across an intersection in Ridley Pennsylvania. He stopped traffic and picked him up, and drove around all day with the turtle in a bucket of water.. now he has him in a 150 Gallon with 3 Large pond fish in his basement and is feeding him (or her) live worms , which he loves and will take them right out of your hand. Any info anyone can give us regarding the care and feeding of this guy is greatly appreciated as we know nothing about keeping, or for that matter have ever seen a softshell Turtle in this area. Please help!
Thank You
 
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Lucy

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I'm sorry, I don't know about turtles.
If it's not native to your area, it might be a good idea to contact someone.
It might be illegal to keep him.
You could possibly start with a ranger at a state park and ask for his/her advice or referral

Good luck.
 

sirdarksol

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A 150 gallon tank is probably a pretty good home, though the fish are in danger of being bitten.

It's unlikely that he'll get in trouble for keeping a non-native turtle. He could get in trouble if it were a native turtle, though.
My research, combined with the fact that it eats from his hand, suggests that this isn't a native (they range as far north as Alabama), and was previously a pet that someone got tired of.
In this case, kudos to your friend for saving an animal that was probably doomed to an unpleasant, cold-related death this winter.
 
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Lucy

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sirdarksol said:
In this case, kudos to your friend for saving an animal that was probably doomed to an unpleasant, cold-related death this winter.
I agree.
 
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Phinny12

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Thank You for your help..I too thought it was someones pet as he will come right up and take the worm from you...Very cute! Poor guy..running across the road..I told my friend that those big pond fish in that aquarium would become lunch for the Turtle at some point,so we are going to take them out and put them in the old aquarium untill he we can get something bigger for them.. He is getting quite attached to the Turt. as he is pretty interactive.. I looked it up on the internet and there is no way native to here as you said sirdarksol...we will get further info on him and see if we can somehow return him to his Native area.
 

sirdarksol

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By this point, it's unlikely that it'll be able to be reintegrated to its home. Being isolated from the wild may have harmed its ability to hunt, but, worse, it may have weakened its immunity against the diseases that exist in the wild. If it was born in captivity, this is nearly guaranteed.

It would be best, if your friend can care for the thing, for him to keep doing so. He already enjoys how interactive the little bugger is, and it will learn to identify him as Provider and Protector, becoming even more interactive.
If he can't provide care for it (which would be totally understandable), he should see if he can find a local pet store that specializes in reptiles and see if they'd be willing to take it in.
 

Wilhelm Joshua Tan

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Tutrl

NAME Florida soft-shelled turtle - Trionyx ferox photos

CLASSIFICATION ORDER: Testudines, SUBORDER: Cryptodira, SUPERFAMILY: Trionychoidea, FAMILY: Trionychidae, SUBFAMILY: Trionychinae, GENUS: Trionyx
DISTRIBUTIONentire Florida, USA ( except Keys ), coastal swamps of Georgia and southern Carolina.
SIZEcarapace length up to 20 inches
IDENTIFICATIONbrown, olive carapace. Head and soft parts in adults brown, grey or pinkish. Juvenile turtles are very attractively colored with olive - yellowish carapace with large grey to dark olive spots. The rim of the carapace is yellow to orange, and ther are yellow and orange lines extending from the area behind the eye. The stripes extand to the neck. This striking coloration gets lost in adults, although in some individuals sooner and some later. Neck long and legs webbed.
IN CAPTIVITYWill eat fish, lean beef, chicken, molluscs, snails, gold fish and commercial turtle food. Not as aggressive as some other soft - shells, but might bite when handled.
A food item within its range.
BEHAVIORPrefers still waters, plentiful in the swamp like Florida Everglades, and might be found in brackish waters. It feeds mostly on molluscs, but an occasional fish might be taken.
REPRODUCTIONFemale gets larger than male, and the eggs are laid from March to July, and from June in northern areas. Clutch numbers in 7 to 22 eggs.
 
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If he can't keep him ..I will.. I love the little guy...but I think he does too.. We will make him a cool home in that 150 Gallon tank.. Thank You for all the info and Help! I am sure I will be asking you guys more question .. I have never had a Turtl and neither has my friend...but we will learn... the little dude sure seems happy enough!
 

Wilhelm Joshua Tan

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More info

They can grow more than 2ft. Baby captive Florida Soft-shelled turtle is easily hurt by skin problem.
 

sirdarksol

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Wilhelm Joshua Tan said:
They can grow more than 6m.
Huh? I'm pretty sure no turtle gets to be six meters.

This one ranges up to twenty-five inches.
 
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Phinny12

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I saw a photo of a guy holding the front of one up off the ground...it looked to be the size of a healthy Snapping turtle..if that is the case we will eventually need more than a 150 Gallon! Maybe a small above ground pool ..heated..filtered..planted??? I would think he could escape a pond.
I also have heard that the turts may injure their face by hitting it on the glass in an aquarium. So far he seems to be fairly docile and likes attention.
 

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Whoa! Getting my turtle threads confused. Almost responded really wrong there.

Yes, these guys can grow to be up to two feet. They're big turtles. In the long run, he's likely going to need a habitat. A greenhouse with a pond would be the best (unless one of you has space to build a large terrarium/pond inside), though that's a lot of expense for an adopted turtle. Whatever happens, the turtle is going to need protection from your cold winters.
That's probably why it was released in the first place.
Perhaps you've got a local aquarium or zoo that would want a specimen like this. You've got plenty of time before it outgrows a 150 gallon, so you and your friend could start writing letters and making phone calls.
 
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OMG sirdarksol...someone would actually get this animal and then just let it out somewhere to get rid of him? That is like people who flush their fish! Jerks. Fourtunatly I know several big time Snake & Turtle people..who do alot of good work in the reptile community. They have the resourses to care for the little guy when he becomes too large. No worries My friend and I would never just abandon him.
 

sirdarksol

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Yep. There was a large tortoise that was let go in St Paul last year (I'm not even sure if any tortoises are native to this area, and I know that none of the really big ones are). Thankfully, there's a guy who runs a pet store and knows about turtles nearby, and when I resident saw the thing, they brought it to him. It had been chewed pretty badly by a dog before he got it, but he's taking good care of it. It wanders around his store during the quiet times. He keeps it in back during busy times.
 

sirdarksol

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Just because there are breeds of soft shell turtles that live in Pennsylvania, that doesn't mean that the Florida soft shell turtle can live in Pennsylvania. They have different requirements, largely with regards to temperatures, but also possibly with the type of aquascape they live in.
Aside from that, this turtle is very obviously accustomed to humans, which may mean it doesn't have the necessary survival instincts. It may also lack the immunities to common infections found in the wild. Worse, it may be carrying an infection that the local turtles aren't immune to.
Releasing the thing would likely be a death sentence for it, and may cause severe problems with the local ecology.
 
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My friend's Daughter is in a Zoo program for kids. I told him about all your responses and have convinced him that he will not be able to keep this guy much longer. He contacted the Zoo and they have agreed to house this Turt. in the Reptile House at the Philadelphia Zoo.
 

sirdarksol

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That's awesome!
The turtle gets a home. Your friend will still be able to see it. His daughter will be able to brag "My daddy gave that turtle to the zoo." ;D
 
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Lucy

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Well, that's pretty cool, I'm glad to hear he's going to a good place.
 
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Thank you all! That's what we thought too.. his daughter will get to see him and tell everyone that's her Turt! I was becomming increasingly worried about him. The more I read about him, the more I was realizing my friend could not keep this animal as a pet. So this works out all around. Now alot of people will get to see him too.
 

Wilhelm Joshua Tan

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well

sirdarksol said:
Whoa! Getting my turtle threads confused. Almost responded really wrong there.

Yes, these guys can grow to be up to two feet. They're big turtles. In the long run, he's likely going to need a habitat. A greenhouse with a pond would be the best (unless one of you has space to build a large terrarium/pond inside), though that's a lot of expense for an adopted turtle. Whatever happens, the turtle is going to need protection from your cold winters.
That's probably why it was released in the first place.
Perhaps you've got a local aquarium or zoo that would want a specimen like this. You've got plenty of time before it outgrows a 150 gallon, so you and your friend could start writing letters and making phone calls.
Well, it is said in Barron's Turtle and Tortoise.
 
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