Smooth Softshell Apalone mutica

Description: Females 6½ - 14 inches, males 4½ - 7 inches. Smooth Softshell Turtles have a soft, flat, flexible upper shell (carapace). They are often described as looking like chocolate chip pancakes, even being called "pancake turtles" by some people. The front edge of the upper shell is smooth giving the turtle its name. The nostrils are smooth and round.

Similar Species: Spiny Softshell Turtles are similar in appearance, but have spines and bumps on the front edge of the upper shell, and have D-shaped nostrils with a small ridge in them.

Status: Level III - Species of Conservation Priority (learn more)

Comments: Restricted to sandy stretches of the Missouri River and its tributaries.

Distribution Map
Distribution map of Smooth Softshell (Apalone mutica)

County level distribution of this species in North Dakota. Map generated from data collected from voucher specimens and photographic records.

Photographs