I love Blanding's turtles. They are my favorite. Softshell turtles, like this spiny softshell are a close second, despite their foul temper when caught. It's not that I blame them. Being plucked from your lake a poked at would likely make me cranky too. This female had a carapace length of about a foot, so she was medium sized for the ones I saw in this lake in the 5 or so years we lived there. They have fantastic long necks and very sharp beaks under that pig-like nose. I was trapping the lake to monitor the species in it, so when I caught her, I took the opportunity to take a picture before letting go.
The reason they are a favorite comes from the time I spent swimming with them around. During the summers we lived at Fish Lake in Michigan, I would swim almost every day for as long as an hour. These turtles hated me on land and rapidly shot away from boats and canoes, but I could swim very close to them. Watching them from the water is the only way to go. It was a fantastic few years, doubt I'll ever have a time like that again, but I only need to look at this photo to have all the memories flood back.