Turtles in South Dakota

While South Dakota is located in the American Midwest, there are a few freshwater bodies that can support turtles. These include natural sources like the Missouri River and the Black Stone Lake and artificial sources created by dams like Lake Oahe and Lake Sharpe. Some notable species include the Common Snapping Turtle, the Ornate Box Turtle, and the Midland Smooth Softshell.

Turtles in South Dakota (SD)

Types of Turtles Found in South Dakota

Snapping Turtles (Chelydridae)

  • Common Snapping Turtle

Emydid Turtles (Emydidae)

Painted Turtles

Map Turtles

  • False Map Turtle

Blanding’s Turtles

  •  Blanding’s Turtle

Box Turtles

  • Ornate Box Turtle
  • Western Box Turtle

Softshell Turtles (Trionychidae)

  • Midland Smooth Softshell
  • Western Spiny Softshell


Are there any endangered turtles in South Dakota?

Several of the turtles living in South Dakota are at risk. The Blanding’s Turtle is endangered in the state, while the False Map Turtle is classified as threatened. The Midland Smooth Softshell, the Western Spiny Softshell, and the Ornate Box Turtle remain rare.

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