Found in rivers, large streams, and rarely large lakes with sandy or muddy bottoms
Diet: insects, worms, snails, clams, frogs, fish, young birds, small mammals, algae, and seed
Length: 14 inches or more, males half that
Smooth Soft-shell Distribution
Spiny and Smooth Soft-shell Breeding
Breed in May and they lay their eggs in June or July
Young hatch in August or September
Lay the 12 to 30 eggs, ping-pong ball shaped
Nests are on sandbars
Eggs often dug up by carnivorous mammals, drown, some fish
Most turtles are declining in numbers due to:
Organs sold for medicinal purposes worldwide
Overabundance of predators such as raccoons
In the pet trade, it is now illegal to sell a turtle if the carapace is less than 4 inches in length
Some turtles are being put on threatened lists and being labeled as “vulnerable” so they can be more protected under laws and policies
Of 270 or more known species, more than 100 are considered rare or threatened with extinction
Problems in Kentucky
Snapping turtles are a danger to young waterfowl.
To remove turtles, bait heavy lines with chicken gizzards and place baited lines in the shallow water areas around the pond. Captured turtles can be eaten or relocated.
Smaller, hard-shell, or slider turtles can be captured with a trap. Make a trap place placing a box or barrel in your pond. Put a board across the top. Turtles will climb onto the board to bask in the sun, then fall into the box or barrel.
Most research done on Sea turtles, not freshwater
“Temperature and Sex Determination in Reptiles with Reference to Chelonians” David Madge, University of London (2000)
Several places have included turtles in research but only in terms of species inventory of a specific piece of land
“An Inventory of the Amphibian and Reptile Fauna of Ichauway” Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center at Ichauway in Georgia (2001)