Ouachita Map Turtle
Wisconsin status: locally common
Check out the carapace (top shell) on the Ouachita (wa-chi-tau) map turtle. Can you see the center ridge on the shell? This midline keel is one of the characteristics you can use to identify this turtle. The carapace is a dark olive green and jagged along the back edge. Each carapace scute (plates that form the shell) usually has a dark blotch toward the back edge that is outlined by a thin, faint yellow line. These lines often interconnect with other lines creating a map-like pattern on the shell. The head of the Ouachita map turtle has a large yellowish crescent or blotch behind the eyes and a distinct yellow spot under the eye on the lower jaw.
These turtles live only in large rivers where they eat insects, worms, crayfish, snails, small fish and aquatic plants.