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Old 11-21-2014, 02:17 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default Softshell turtles fast moving predators?

National Geographic: Lewis & Clark—Animals—Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle

National Zoo| FONZ

Softshell turtles are capable of pharyngeal breathing. This means they can bypass lung breathing by taking in oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide through a membrane that lines the throat, creating a direct gas exchange within the water. There is also some limited oxygen exchange through the skin. Other reptiles and amphibians are capable of similar gas exchanges. Pharyngeal breathing is very important as a hibernation strategy.
BioKIDS - Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species, Apalone mutica, Smooth Softshelled Turtle: INFORMATION

Smooth softshell turtles spend more time in the water than any other North American softshell turtles. They can stay underwater for long periods of time, partly because they have long necks and noses. They bury themselves in the sandy bottom with their nose sticking up just above the surface. They stir up the sand around them so that it covers their bodies and only their head shows. They also hibernate like this in the winter. In Kansas, they come out of hibernation in March or April. Farther north like in Minnesota, they keep hibernating until May. When they come out from hibernation, they lay out in the sun on sand bars, in shallow water, or on logs or rocks. They move away quickly if they sense danger from predators. They are quick and agile, which helps them escape from predators and also catch prey. Smooth softshell turtles usually spend time alone. (Degenhardt, et al., 1996; Ernst and Lovich, 2009; Jackson, et al., 1976; Lindeman, 2000; Oldfield and Moriarty, 1994; Plummer, 1977; Vogt, 1981)
Smooth softshell turtles don't have many natural predators because they are quick and move around easily. The main predators of adults are humans and alligators. Young smooth softshell turtles are eaten by fish, other turtles like common snapping turtles, alligator snapping turtles, and maybe their relatives, water snakes, shoreline birds, bald eagles, and other mammals. Their nests are preyed on by raccoons, skunks, crows, fire ants, fly larvae, dogs, red foxes, eastern moles, and other small mammals.

Smooth softshell turtles avoid predators by quickly moving away if they sense danger. They are good at diving and hide in the mud. If they are caught by a predator, they pull themselves into their shell. (Doody, 1996; Ernst and Lovich, 2009; Fitch and Plummer, 1975; Oldfield and Moriarty, 1994; Vogt, 1981)
Fast moving indeed.
"Half Earth Quest" Edward O. Wilson

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