Monday, April 02, 2007

Map Turtles

Today I was walking along the Olentangy river to hopefully get a glimpse of the turtle that I had seen diving into the churning, brown water last week. The water had receded somewhat by today, and luckily, I saw 3 large softshell turtles and at least two map turtles sunning themselves on a distant bank. A pair of Canada geese was near them, and I think they spooked most of the turtles back into the water. Anyways, these guys were too far away to photograph (I only had my Canon 4x) zoom) but it was very cool to see these large reptiles basking on the banks of the Olentangy. Further upstream, I noticed a huge female map turtle on the opposite, west bank, in the shade. I trained by binos and she was truly a magnificent girl. Her shell was at least 12" long. To her left sat a smaller map turtle, most likely a male. The females are 2-3 times larger than the males in many map turtle species. Why are they called map turtles? They have lines running in irregular patterns on their shells and legs. Graptemys geographica, very much map-sounding, is their scientific name. After checking out some of the other portions of the floodplain, I hiked back up to the house and returned with Megan's ultra high zoom camera and tripod. Here is a shot of them!


  1. Way cool Tommy!

  2. I am a staff member at Ohio University and I am trying to compile a distribution map of map turtles for Ohio. Would you be willing to send me GPS coordinates of where you saw these Northern Map turtles? I would greatly appreciate your help. My email is

    Thank you for your time! Great pictures!