Ouachita map turtle

(Graptemys ouchitensis ouchitensis)


Females are usually 5-9 in. long while males are between 3.5 and 4.5 in. long. There is a prominent squarish or rectangular light spot behind eye with 1-3 light neck lines reach the eyes and a pair of light spots appear on the jaws, one under the eye the other on the chin. Mating occurs in April and May. Females prepare nests in June or July in full sunlight. She will usually lay between 6 and 13 eggs with 10 being average. In southern reaches may nest twice a year. This species is active from April to September. In winter, species swims to the bottom and may burrow down to a foot and hibernate. This species spends most of its time basking and seldom leaves water except to nest.


This species prefers lakes, ponds, sloughs, large rivers, backwaters, large reservoirs and drowned forests or any fair sized body of water with abundant aquatic vegetation. It occurs near the borders of SW Virginia but no verified records exist in the state.


This species eats crayfish, mollusks, worms, insects, fish and fish carrion, bryozoans, algae and some aquatic vegetation.