Wild Guide: Northern Map Turtle

By MDC | March 1, 2024
From Missouri Conservationist: March 2024

The northern map turtle is a medium-sized aquatic turtle with a brown or olive-brown upper shell and a netlike pattern of fine, squiggly, yellow lines that give the shell the appearance of a road map, hence its name. Northern map turtles are strong swimmers with fully webbed limbs. They are active from late March to October in small- to medium-sized rivers, reservoirs, sloughs, and oxbow lakes. They require basking sites and aquatic plants.

Did You Know?

Prime basking spots on Ozark streams are as important to northern map turtles as the availability of prey. The heavy use of many Ozark streams and rivers by canoes and inflated rubber tubes will send basking turtles scrambling into the water. This traffic prevents turtles from basking and may, in turn, reduce survivorship.

a northern map turtle on a branch

This Issue's Staff

Magazine Manager - Stephanie Thurber
Editor - Angie Daly Morfeld
Associate Editor - Larry Archer
Photography Editor - Cliff White
Staff Writer - Kristie Hilgedick
Staff Writer - Joe Jerek
Staff Writer – Dianne Van Dien
Designer - Shawn Carey
Designer - Marci Porter
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Circulation – Marcia Hale