Hitchhiking Softshell Turtle On Manatee

One never knows when an excellent photo opportunity will arise. On the day I took these photos of the softshell turtle riding on a manatee I decided to take a ride to Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River. I was going to try out my new CPL filter which helps filter out glare when shooting subjects on or just under the surface of the water. I was walking on the path and came across two people who later introduced themselves as Don Markham and Wendy Pate.

While we were talking Don noticed a softshell turtle hitching a ride on a manatee. He moved over and gave me the shot. Not too often do you get the opportunity to get an exciting shot like this where two different species are peacefully interacting with each other.

If ever you encounter a manatee while in the water you should know riding or even actively interacting with manatees is illegal. A manatee can come up to you and often will. The young manatees, or calfs, are extremely curious, but your interaction with them must remain passive.

I am sure this turtle gets a pass since the law is to keep humans from harassing manatees because they are so docile and gentle.

Softshell turtles are one of the largest freshwater turtle species in North America. The shell of the softshell turtle is soft, flat, and rubbery. The edges of the shell are pliable with small spines. As you can maybe see from the one photo, the turtle’s nose is long and piglike. The softshell turtle spends most of its life in the water.

#wisconsinfloridaadventurers #manatees #softshellturtles

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