Albino Softshell Turtle – A Fascinating Journey

Introduction to the Albino Softshell Turtle

Ah, the albino softshell turtle! A creature that never fails to captivate with its unique appearance and characteristics. These turtles are not just a pet; they are a marvel of nature that comes with its own set of challenges and rewards.

albino softshell turtle

The Origin of the Albino Trait in Turtles

Albinism, caused by a lack of pigmentation, isn’t exclusive to softshell turtles. It’s a genetic anomaly that can be found across many species, including humans. But in softshell turtles? It’s like nature’s own art.


Physical Appearance and Distinct Features

Albino softshell turtles are nature’s enigmas, wrapping beauty and biology into one fascinating package. While softshells, in general, are known for their leathery shells, the albinos take it up a notch with their ethereal, almost translucent appearance. 

Did you know that their peculiar pinkish-red eyes are not just a quirky feature but a result of the absence of melanin? And while they might appear fragile, they’re swift swimmers, often darting like underwater lightning in their aquatic abodes. 

These turtles, despite their delicate looks, have been around for more than 100 million years, making them ancient contemporaries of some dinosaurs! Interestingly, their noses are elongated, almost snorkel-like, allowing them to breathe while submerged. But here’s a fun fact: they often indulge in a peculiar behavior called “worm stomping” – tapping their webbed feet on the ground to lure worms to the surface! Nature truly has its delightful ways.

Albino Softshell Turtle

Natural Habitat of Albino Softshell Turtles

The natural habitat of the softshell turtle is as captivating as the creature itself. Generally, softshell turtles thrive in freshwater environments, such as slow-moving rivers, ponds, lakes, and marshes. The soft, sandy, or muddy bottoms of these waters are particularly favored, providing an ideal substrate for them to bury themselves and camouflage. 

While the albino variant shares these habitat preferences, their albinism, resulting from a lack of pigmentation, makes them more vulnerable. In the wild, their striking white appearance stands out, making them easy prey for predators. This lack of camouflage also makes them susceptible to sunburns and UV damage, so shaded or partially shaded areas become vital for their well-being. 

Natural vegetation, both submerged and floating, in these aquatic habitats not only provides them with some protection from predators but also supports their diet, which includes small aquatic creatures and vegetation.


Ideal Conditions for Keeping Albino Softshell Turtles in Captivity

Tank Requirements: 

Creating an optimal environment for albino softshell turtles requires careful attention, given their unique requirements and vulnerabilities. These turtles demand a spacious tank, as they are active swimmers and grow to a significant size. A tank with a capacity of at least 100 gallons is recommended, ensuring ample swimming and resting spaces. 

Water quality considerations:

The tank’s substrate plays a critical role. Softshell turtles prefer soft, sandy substrates, allowing them to bury themselves, mimicking their natural behavior in the wild. This substrate should be kept clean, as these turtles are sensitive to water impurities.

Water quality is paramount. A powerful filtration system is a must to maintain clear water, free from harmful chemicals and waste products. Regular water changes, combined with water conditioners, can further ensure optimal water quality. The water temperature should hover between 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, maintained with the aid of a water heater.

Turtle Lamp:

Being albinos, these turtles are particularly sensitive to light. While UVB lighting is essential for their health, aiding in calcium absorption and bone health, direct and prolonged exposure can harm them. Hence, UVB lights should be strategically placed to provide shaded areas within the tank. A basking spot, equipped with a heating turtle lamp, is also vital, giving them a place to dry off and regulate their body temperature.


Plants and decorations can be added, not just for aesthetics but also to offer hiding spots, increasing the turtle’s sense of security. However, ensure that these additions don’t have sharp edges that can damage the turtle’s delicate skin. In all, setting up a turtle tank for albino softshell turtles is a balance of providing comfort and simulating their natural habitat, while accounting for their specific needs and vulnerabilities.


Diet and Nutrition Tips

The nutritional needs of an albino softshell turtle are distinct and pivotal for its overall health. A balanced diet is essential for maintaining their unique shell and vibrant coloration. 

Predominantly carnivorous, these turtles thrive on a diet rich in protein. Fresh fish, particularly those high in omega-3s like salmon and mackerel, can be a staple. However, avoid fatty fish as a regular diet. Additionally, they relish aquatic insects, snails, and crustaceans, such as shrimp. 

Supplementing with commercial turtle pellets can ensure they get the essential vitamins and minerals necessary for robust health. It’s vital to offer leafy greens, like kale and dandelion leaves, in moderation, to add variety and essential nutrients. Calcium supplementation, in the form of cuttlebones or calcium blocks, can support shell health. 

Always ensure clean, freshwater is accessible, and remember, variety is key to prevent nutritional deficiencies and promote a thriving albino softshell turtle.


Health and Wellness

Common Health Issues: 

Albino softshell turtles, like their non-albino counterparts, are prone to a range of health issues. Due to their unique pigmentation, they may be more susceptible to UV light damage, necessitating careful sun exposure management.

Skin infections, often fungal, can be a concern, especially in sub-optimal water conditions. Shell rot, characterized by soft or discolored patches on the shell, can develop in stagnant, dirty water. Metabolic bone disease, a result of calcium deficiency or inadequate UVB exposure, can cause weak shells and bone deformities. 

Respiratory infections, evident through symptoms like wheezing, mucus discharge, or lethargy, are another common ailment. Additionally, poor diet can lead to vitamin deficiencies or digestive issues. Regular health check-ups, a well-maintained habitat, and a balanced diet are essential in preventing these ailments and ensuring the well-being of your albino softshell turtle.

Special Care for Albino Varieties: 

Albino softshell turtles, due to their lack of pigmentation, are especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of direct sunlight. Ensuring shaded areas in their outdoor habitats is crucial to prevent sunburns and other UV-induced damages. While sunlight is a natural source of UVB, which turtles need for vitamin D3 synthesis and calcium metabolism, albino variants require careful moderation. Vet-approved UV screens can be a game-changer. These screens filter out harmful rays while allowing beneficial UVB to penetrate, ensuring the turtle gets the necessary light without the associated risks. Consulting with a reptile veterinarian can guide owners in choosing the best UV protection for their albino softshells.


Breeding Albino Softshell Turtles

Breeding albino softshell turtles can be both rewarding and challenging. These unique creatures inherit their albinism from a recessive gene, meaning both parents must carry the trait to produce albino offspring. While their captivating appearance might intrigue breeders, it’s essential to approach the breeding process with extensive knowledge and care. Given their genetic predisposition, albino softshells may have heightened vulnerabilities, making their breeding environment’s conditions pivotal. In our Albino Turtle article, we went into great details about all things health related and ethical/legal details on the matter.



The journey with an albino softshell is unique, challenging, but immensely rewarding. They’re a testament to nature’s wonders, and with the right care, they thrive, bringing joy to our lives.



  • How long do albino softshell turtles live? With proper care, they can live up to 20-25 years. 
  • Are they good for beginner turtle enthusiasts? Due to their specific needs, they’re better suited for experienced caretakers. 
  • How often should they be fed? Juveniles daily, adults every other day. Always consult with a vet. 
  • Is it okay to keep them with other turtle species? It’s recommended to keep them with their kind to prevent stress and aggression. 
  • What’s the price range for an albino softshell? They can be pricier due to their rarity, ranging from $100 to even $1000 for specific breeds and ages.

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