The spiny softshell turtle is one of only two softshell turtle species that can be found in Minnesota. The spiny softshell can be found primarily in rivers, though they will also sometimes live in lakes with shallows and sandbars, throughout the southern two thirds of Minnesota. They are cautious and will into the water if they get nervous. I photographed these spiny softshells in the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling State Park.
Males and females of the species can appear quite different, see the photo above for comparison. Females are quite a bit larger, up to about twice the size of the males. Males typically have longer tales and have spots on their shells where the females shell is covered with large blotches. Males mature at about 5 years where females do not mature until they are 8 years old or older. Mating occurs in May and eggs are laid in a sandbar close to the water.