Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, BC (Photo by Tim Ennis/NCC)

Cowichan Garry Oak Preserve, BC (Photo by Tim Ennis/NCC)

Northern map turtle (Photo by Gordon E. Robertson)

Northern map turtle (Photo by Gordon E. Robertson)

Northern map turtle

This is a large freshwater species.

Identification

These turtles grow up to 27 centimetres long and have an oval, olive-green carapace. The name "map turtle" comes from the fine yellow lines across the shell, resembling the lines of a topographic map. These lines continue across the turtle’s head and legs.

Range and habitat

In Canada, map turtles are found in southern Ontario and along the St. Lawrence River into Quebec. The rivers and lakes in which they live are soft-bottomed with slow-moving water, and must support molluscs — the species' favourite source of food.

Conservation status

This is a species of special concern.

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