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RTPI – Meet Your Neighbours: Spiny Softshell Turtle

Spiny Softshell Turtles owe their name to the unusual, leathery shell that covers their body. They are a species of Special Concern in New York and are rarely seen – except in the greater Jamestown area, where they inhabit the Chadakoin River and Chautauqua Lake. In early summer, dozens of these large, bizarre turtles can be seen as they sunbathe on the banks of the river, or float near the water surface with only their snorkel-like snout visible. RTPI studies the local, urban populations of this charismatic neighbor to ensure its long-term survival in the area. Softshell turtles are excellent indicators of clean water and inform us about the health of our rivers and lakes.


The ‘Meet Your Neighbours’ global biodiversity project is a worldwide photographic initiative dedicated to reconnecting people with the wildlife on their own doorsteps (wherever on the planet this doorstep happens to be) – and enriching their lives in the process. The animals and plants found in our immediate vicinity are vital to people: they represent the first, and for some, the only contact with wild nature we have.