48THE EASTERN SPINY SOFTSHELL TURTLE

This is a male Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle. Courtesy of Scott Gillingwater
This is a male Eastern Spiny Softshell Turtle. Courtesy of Scott Gillingwater
(Apalone spinifera spinifera)

The Sydenham River is one of the few locations in Southwestern Ontario where native populations of the eastern spiny softshell turtle can still be found. A recent survey of the turtle’s population shows that most of the turtles live in the east branch of the Sydenham River watershed. This is the stretch that runs from Strathroy to Croton. The eastern spiny softshell turtle is the only softshell turtle in Canada. They are found in southern Ontario and southeastern Quebec.

Like many species, the eastern spiny softshell Turtle is not as common as it used to be. Because of various environmental factors their population has declined. Habitat loss is just one of these reasons.

The population of these native turtles continues to fall. By 1989, the spiny softshell turtles were designated a threatened species. A threatened species is a native species that is close to becoming endangered.

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