Hide-A-Way Hills, Ohio - Midland Smooth Softshell Turtle - What's it doing in our Lake?

Once again, I am a bit puzzled by the wildlife I've been able to catch with my camera. This turtle was spotted on the rocks on the Lake of Four Seasons in Hide-A-Way Hills, Ohio.

Why might I be puzzled? Smooth softshells are typically found in rivers, large streams, and, rarely, large lakes with sandy or muddy bottoms. Those lakes are usually close to a large river. Sandbars are also important for basking and egg laying sites. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, "The smooth softshell is limited primarily to southern and southeastern Ohio, where it inhabits the larger tributaries of the Ohio River, particularly the Scioto River." What a treat to find this creature on our lake here in Hide-A-Way Hills.

While finding the turtle on our lake may be a bit odd, the softshell also differs from other turtles with three very distinctive facts.

1-Softshells do not have to get air from the surface. While it is submerged, it pumps water in and out of its mouth and pharynx. The highly vascular lining of the pharynx removes oxygen from the water and expels carbon dioxide into it.

2- Unlike most turtles, the sex of midland softshell turtles is not dependent on the temperature at which the eggs develop. Eggs are laid in a cavity in a sandbar.

3 - Unlike spiny softshells, these turtles are not aggressive and will remain passive even when picked up.

According to the Iowa's Department of Resources, the Midland Smooth Softshell populations are declining due to human factors, such as agricultural runoff and pollution, so I'm hopeful the species may find some refuge here in Hide-A-Way Hills.

Of course, once again, I could be completely wrong with my identification. If you have any knowledge that you may be able to add, please feel free to help me out by contributing your comments below.