The female Florida softshell turtle grows up to 24 inches long while the male only reach about 14 inches. I saw several females in the area as well as small softshell turtles (one of which I saw eaten by an egret - photo is on egret page).

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This was my first sighting of this turtle breed. I could see it was tracking my motions as I walked along the other side of the fence with my camera about 10-15 feet away. Based on its size it must have been a female and she apparently has very good eyesight.
[Through the grass and reeds along the side of the water a bald lump of gray with eyes and nostrils pokes out of the water.]

After returning to my room I zoomed in on the above photo to find this prehistoric-looking creature had been tracking me. Glad I was safely on the other side of the fence!
[The head of this turtle is wide and long. Two eyes--white with black centers--site atop the head. The nostril is more of a snout with two openings at the end. The mouth is closed, but can be seen extending from either side of the snout.]

It looks like these creatures have tongues.
[A side view of a head of a turtle with its mouth open. Only a small part of the head and neck are above the water, but more of the neck is visible below the water's surface. The mouth is open showing might lighter color and there appears to be a light-colored tongue in the mouth.]

Closer view of the webbed feet on this turtle.
[The turtle has its head out of wter and its front feet close to the top of the water with the rest of its body submerged and barely visible. The feet resemble paddles with toes embedded in the webbing.]

The shell on this turtle is at least 1.5 feet long.
[The turtle swims just below the surface with its eyes and snout and a very small hump of the shell above the water. The entire turtle including all four webbed feet are visible as it swims.]

This turtle is going for the food just outside of the water.
It actually doesn't look that heathy and two months later there was a dead turtle floating in the pond.
[The softshell has its neck extended out of the water at the edge of the pond and almost touches a hunk of something (might be bread). A regular hard-shell turtle seems to be going after the much larger softshell turtle.]

There are 2 softshell turtles and 3 hardshell turtles in this image.
Only the head of the second softshell is visible at the far left lower corner.
[This image has one large softshell turtle in the lower right of the image. Her head and back and one leg is visible. Her head is out of the water. There are two hardshell turtles trying to go over her back to get at the food particles floating on the water. The head and part of the neck of a second softshell turtle is swimming into the area. A third hardshell turtle comes into the image from the other side.]

I took this photo from the other side of the pond behind the fence, but as soon as the softshell saw me, she took off down the hill for the water. I managed to get my camera focused in time before she disappeared in the murkiness. Never realized turtles could move that fast! The turtle to the right is an adult red-eared slider.
[The tip of the Florida softshell's snout is just about to hit water as the rest of its body is extended up the green hillside. To the right of it in a perpendicular fashion is the smaller turtle sunning itself.]

Momma has come out of the water probably looking for a place to plant some eggs.
She's looking up the hillside by the pond.
[A softshell is on land at the water's edge. Her front legs are propped up and her head and neck are extended in an attempt to see up the hillside. Her back legs are tucked under her shell.]

Not sure if this turtle had kicked up the dirt/sand to cover her tracks or it's a defensive, protective action.
The blur in the lower left corner of the image is flying sand.
[A softshell is on land near the top of the hillside. She has just kicked up quite a bit of ground behind her.]

Those flipper feet work pretty well moving her on land.
She has kicked up sand on top of herself.
[A softshell is on land with a noticeable amount of sand on her shell. Her head is partially tucked into her body. Both front flippers are out to the side as she propels herself on the grass and leaves.]

I saw this Florida softshell on the hillside near one of the drainage ditches. I don't know if I interrupted her burying eggs or something else was happening as she was tossing sand/dirt over her shell. This image is a crop of a telephoto shot, but I know these turtles have good eyesight so it may have felt threatened by my presence.
[The turtle is on land with its head and feet extended. Its back is covered with a layer of dirt.]

I apparently got too close for comfort as I leaned over the edge of the stone arched roadway across the ditch.
[The turtle's head is retracted accordian-style and the one visible eye is definitely looking at the camera. This is a close-up shot of just the head.]

A top down view of a juvenile. Its head and neck are much bigger in relation to its shell size than on an adult turtle.
[This turtle is completely stretched out swimming. Its shell isn't much longer than it head and neck. The spots on the shell are more clearly visible than on the adults in the other photos.]

This baby turtle still has the yellow coloring around the rim of its shell and in zigzags across its feet to help it blend it with water vegetation.
(It was moving its head, so its head and snout are blurred.)
[The turtle is floating at the top of the brown water. Its shell is probably only about half the diameter of the junvenile's shell in the prior image. The dark spots on its shell aren't quite as visible as teh juvenile's because there is less space between the spots so there is less light color. The edge of the shell is yellow and a definite contrast to the dark body. The feet which are flat and almost flipper-like are dark with yellow around the edges and have several yellow zigzagged lines across them. The head is just above the water while the rest of the body is below the surface. There are a few plants visible under the water.]

The remains of this turtle floated on the pond for several days before the other creatures pulled it under to consume it.
It had floated for 1-2 days before I shot this image. The odor of the decaying critter was quite strong!
[The shell floats above the water while the remains of the feet and head are below the water. The feet are still recognizable as feet, but much of the head and neck are missing.]

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