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False Map Turtle

false map turtle(Graptemys pseudogeographica)

What does a false map turtle look like?
The false map turtle grows 5 to 10 inches in length. This turtle gets its name from the light yellow lines that form a map like pattern on the top shell (carapace), but this pattern is usually hard to see on adults. There is a ridged keel on the carapace that is easy to spot. There are light yellow lines on the head and limbs and a backwards L is present behind each eye.

Where do false map turtles live?
In Minnesota, the false map turtle is found in the Minnesota, Mississippi and St. Croix rivers. They prefer water with slow currents, places to bask, and abundant aquatic vegetation.

Where is the best place to look for a false map turtle?
False map turtles are very aquatic and do not roam far from water. They bask on anything above the water as long as it is away from shore in deep water. Snags and fallen trees with many limbs provide ideal basking areas and a large number of turtles may bask at this site. Approach very slowly and quietly, as these turtles are extremely wary. If one dives, they all dive. The turtles remaining (if any) are the painted turtles. The map turtles resurface fairly quickly, but will remain very cautious and in the water until they feel it is safe.

Do false map turtles hibernate?
Yes. False map turtles will burrow into the river bottom or use the entrance of a muskrat lodge for an overwintering site. False map turtles usually emerge from overwintering sites in April.

Where do false map turtles lay their eggs?
Female false map turtles usually do not migrate long distances to lay eggs, but they may dig a few false nests before actually depositing 12 to 22 eggs. They often nest on sand bars, where possible.

How long to false map turtles live?
A false map turtle that was caught as a juvenile lived for 35 years at the Columbus Zoo. It is difficult to know how long they live in the wild, though it shorter than in captivity due to predation and other factors.

What do false map turtles eat?
False map turtles eat a large amount of aquatic insects. They also consume aquatic plants, fish (especially dead fish), crayfish, and other aquatic life.

What eats false map turtles?
Foxes and raccoons are fond of false map turtle eggs, while shorebirds and large fish are predators of hatchlings and smaller turtles.

Are false map turtles endangered?
No. False map turtles are not currently considered threatened or endangered. However, turtle populations throughout the United States are affected by collection for the pet trade, freshwater habitat destruction, and water pollution.

The information above is common scientific knowledge. For a list of specific resources, visit the Animal FAQ Resources page.

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