Northern/Common Map Turtle

Northern/Common Map Turtle  Graptemys geographica

Type of Animal:

Ponds, large river-bottoms w/ abundant aquatic vegetation & fallen trees for basking, lakes, rivers, streams, rocky areas, basking areas, slow-moving water areas, areas w/ fallen trees/limbs, creeks, riffles, lentic water, under rocks/ledges in deep slow water, overhanging banks, muskrat burrows, reservoirs, sloughs, marshes, bays, oxbow lakes

SE Ontario, far S Quebec, N Vermont, W, N, & E New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, parts of Delaware, far SW Virginia, W & S West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, E Minnesota, E Iowa, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Arkansas, extreme C N Louisiana, far NE Oklahoma, E Kansas, far NE Mississippi, N Alabama, extreme NW Georgia. Introduced in Czech Republic.

Noticeable lined markings on carapace (top shell), most of carapace olive or grayish-brown, yellowish plastron (bottom shell) marked by central dark blotch, females larger than males & have wider heads, males have narrower carapace/narrower head/longer thicker tail, females have broader carapace, hatchlings have greyish-brown carapace, head/neck/tail/limbs dark green w/ thin yellow stripes, oval/triangular spot behind each eye

Snails, clams, crustaceans, insects, carrion, aquatic plants, vegetables, greens, worms, insect larvae, mussels, fish, filamentous algae, water mites

Status in Wild:

Breeding in zoos, aquariums, & herpetoculture. Monitoring in parts of range where populations more at risk.

Found in groups of 5-25 turtles

Additional Info:

Young: Hatchling
Group: Bale

Male: 5.3-14.1 oz
Female: 1.5-5.5 lbs

70 days

Life Span:
20 years

Body Length:
Male: 3.9-6.3 in
Female: 7.1-10.6 in
Young: 1 in

Tail Length:
Male: Longer/Thicker
Female: Shorter/Thinner

Main predators of adults are raccoons, skunks, opossums, coyotes, dogs, bears, otters, foxes, weasels, raptors, snapping turtles, larger snakes, & rats. Crows, gulls, grackles, red-winged blackbirds, & snakes eat hatchlings.

These turtles are very shy & flighty, fleeing at the 1st hint of danger.

They only leave water to bask or nest.

They breed in spring & fall.

Females lay multiple clutches in single breeding season. Each clutch has 6-20 eggs.

Males mature at 4 years old, females at 8 years old.

Active during the day (diurnal)

These turtles are sometimes kept as pets.

Males initiate courtship by tapping long claws on front of female.

Hibernate from November to April.

Fun Fact(s):
These turtles play a key role in areas where zebra mussels have invaded since they eat them.

Higher nest temps yield more females while lower nest temps yield more males.

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