Field Guide to Maryland's Turtles (Order Testudines)
Eastern Spiny Softshell
Apalone s. spinifera
Photo of Eastern Spiny Softshell courtesy of Linh Phu
8 inches (males) – 16 inches (females) Record: 17 inches
Photo of Eastern Spiny Softshell courtesy of Ed Thompson
Primarily aquatic species, this turtle prefers rivers and tributaries in Western Maryland. Has been seen in ponds; prefers sandy substrates and aquatic vegetation.
Photo of Habitat for Eastern Spiny Softshell courtesy of Matt Sell.
How to Find
This species is rare in Maryland, with a state listing of In Need of Conservation. If you see one, please contact the MD DNR Wildlife and Heritage Service.
Distribution in Maryland
Only found in Garrett County.
- Discover Maryland's Herps
- Maryland Herp History
- Maryland Herp Checklist
- Survey Techniques, Collecting Ethics, Safety and the Law
- Problems with Buying Frogs and Tadpoles for Wild Release
- Technical Guide: A Key to the Reptiles and Amphibians of Maryland - 86.3 MB pdf file
- Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas (MARA) Project
- Natural Heritage Program
- Wildlife & Heritage Home
"A Joint Project of the Natural History Society of Maryland, Inc. and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources"
For monthly newsletters of the Maryland Amphibian & Reptile Atlas Project click on Recent Newsletters and scroll down to the MARA Newsletters.
The Maryland Herpetology Field Guide is a cooperative effort of the MD Natural Heritage Program and the MD Biological Stream Survey within the Department of Natural Resources and their partners. We wish to thank all who contributed field records, text, and photographs, as well as support throughout its development.