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Reptiles and Amphibians of North Dakota

False Map Turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica)

species distribution map JPG -- Species Photo


False map turtles are found in the extreme southern Missouri River System in North Dakota. They are identified by a brown carapace with light-yellow oval markings. They have blunt spines that project up from the midline of the carapace. On the head, a light yellow stripe behind each eye is visible.

The undersides or plastrons of false map turtles are cream to yellowish in color. The juveniles have an intricate pattern, whereas in the adults this pattem is absent. They mate in the spring and lay a clutch of 6-13 eggs.

These turtles are extremely rare in North Dakota, and they are very wary. The best opportunity to observe these turtles is during the first two weeks in June as they come out of the water in the afternoon to lay their eggs in the sand. Keep in mind that these will be adult female turtles often 12-16 inches long.

False map turtles eat aquatic vegetation, insects, worms, crustaceans, minnows, and mollusks.


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