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False Map Turtle

Wisconsin status: special concern

The false map turtle looks a lot like the southern map turtle, but there are a few differences. The false map turtle doesn't have the spot under the eye on the lower jaw. The keel (ridge) along its back is not quite as noticeable and the blotch behind the eye is often narrower. The lines outlining and connecting the dark blotch on each of the turtle's scutes (plates) on its top shell are a little more noticeable on this turtle. They're also more yellow-orange in color. If you find one of these in the wild, you'll have to look closely to figure out whether you're looking at a false map or southern map turtle. False map turtles are less common that southern map turtles.
Range map for false map turtle--range is in brown.

False Map Turtle Habitat Range
False Map Turtle Habitat Range

These critters are strictly aquatic and like to live in large rivers. Can you guess what they find to eat in their river habitat? Insects, worms, crayfish, snails, small fish and aquatic plants are all on the menu. Like all the map turtles, you will sometimes find them basking in a group on fallen trees and snags.

Both false and southern map turtles are very wary and will flee at the slightest disturbance. So, if you see them basking and want to get a closer look, you'll have to be very quiet.