Meet the Amur Softshell Turtle in Russia's Far East
The Amur softshell turtle, also known as the Chinese Trionyx, is a unique creature. It lives in fresh water bodies in Russia's Far East, China, Japan, Taiwan and on the Korean peninsula.

Typical features of the Amur softshell turtle include:

  1. Each of its paws has three claws. Hence its Latin name Trionyx (the word onix stands for claw)
  2. As their name suggests, their shell is soft and their body is covered by a leathery carapace
  3. The softshell turtles have an elongated proboscis and a highly developed jaw, with large and very sharp teeth that can cause considerable damage
  4. Most of the time this turtle lives in water; it's a fast swimmer thanks to its webbed paw
Even though these turtles might look cute and funny, they are actually highly aggressive predators. Their prey includes lizards, frogs, toads, worms and water insects. The turtle is also capable of catching fish. While hunting, the softshell turtle burries itself in mud or sand with only a small part of its head sticking out. Once a passing fish comes into close enough range, the turtle instantly stretches out its neck and grabs its meal.
Even though these turtles might look cute and funny, they are actually highly aggressive predators. Their prey includes lizards, frogs, toads, worms and water insects. The turtle is also capable of catching fish. While hunting, the softshell turtle burries itself in mud or sand with only a small part of its head sticking out. Once a passing fish comes into close enough range, the turtle instantly stretches out its neck and grabs its meal.

Amur turtles live alone and meetings between them usually result in fights or can even end fatal. Often flashing its sharp teeth alone is sufficient to fend off an attack, but in some cases even the fiercest softshell turtle may become prey to larger animals. It also shows aggressive behavior towards humans and it is better not to touch it with bare hands. Even when touched on the lower part of its body, the flexible turtle can twist and still get hold of part of the hand and cause serious injuries with its sharp teeth.

This creature is considered an endangered species in Russia and its numbers continue to decrease. This is mainly caused by pollution of soils from industrial production, poaching of adult turtles and collection of their eggs by locals, who consume them as delicacy.
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