Share your observations

Share your observations of plants or non-game animals with the Natural Heritage Inventory

ways to reduce wildlife-human conflict and avoid wildlife damage.
Wisconsin's rare plants, animals and natural communities.
about wildlife health and rehabilitation.
Contact information
For more information, contact:
Rori Paloski

Northern Map Turtle (Graptemys geographica)

Northern Map Turtle photo.
Photo © A.B. Sheldon
  • Family: Emydidae (Box and water turtles)
  • Status: Common
  • Size: carapace: females 6.5 to 10.5 inches, males 4 to 6.25 inches

range map

Species range

The aquatic northern map turtle has a low dorsal keel and an olive-brown carapace that is patterned with fine yellow lines resembling a road map. Its head and neck are olive-brown with thin yellow lines running from the head onto the neck, and there is a pronounced yellow spot behind each eye. The back edge of the shell is modestly serrated. Adult males are significantly smaller than females. Northern map turtles can be distinguished from false and southern map turtles by their uniformly-colored yellow or creamy plastron. They prefer habitats with slow to moderate current, soft bottoms and abundant aquatic vegetation, such as side channels, backwaters, and some rivers and reservoirs. Their diet includes insect larvae, carrion, crustaceans and aquatic plants. Females have large broad heads and jaws adapted for cracking mollusk and crayfish shells.


Northern Map Turtle  Photo

Photo © A.B. Sheldon.

Last revised: Tuesday, December 22, 2020