Gretchen was working at the potting table under the end shelter
when she noticed something odd right by the table.
It was Francine, our friend the softshell tortoise,
in from the woods, laying eggs in the same under the shelter.
So we fenced the dogs out until she politely asked to be let out.
Then I put Continue reading →
Gretchen Quarterman was surprised when Yellow Dog walked past me and picked up that snake about 4 feet to my left. I had backed off when I took this picture, but the venom splatter still got on my arm, which immediately started tingling. With a bit of soap and water, it’s fine. For once the Yellow Dog did not get bit. She did get some of the food she likes best and a bone. Brown Dog prudently stayed out of this one.
Like other softshells, the Florida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox)
is a large, flat turtle with skin covering its shell (resembling a
pancake). It is the bulkiest of the softshell turtles but inhabits
the smallest range. It varies in size with males measuring from 6-12
inches (15-30 cm) and females measuring double that at 11-24 inches
(28-61 cm). Adults are usually colored by a dark brown to
brownish-gray with dark spots. Also there are usually small dark
bumps on the carapace. In juveniles these dark bumps on the carapace
are much more easily seen, as they are usually lighter in color than
the adults. The carapace of the Florida softshell is covered with
longitudinal rows of tubercles that resemble ridges in younger
turtles but are less evident in larger turtles. In adult turtles the
plastron of the shell usually extends farther than the carapace.