Mississippi Map Turtles

Mississippi Map Turtles

These turtles are named for their distinctive map-like markings on their shells, which help to camouflage them underwater.

Mississippi map turtles are an interesting species to observe, and they make a great addition to any collection of turtles.

Map turtles are medium-sized species that can grow up to 6 inches long. The top of the turtle’s shell is brown or olive, with dark spots or streaks that create a “map-like” appearance. The bottom of the shell is yellowish-brown or tan.

In this guide, you will learn everything you need to know in order to care for your very own Mississippi map turtle, including diet, habitat, and basking requirements.

Mississippi map turtle overview

The Mississippi map turtle is a subspecies of the common map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni). These turtles get their name from the unique markings on their shells, which resemble a map.

Because they are an aquatic species that spend most of their time swimming, they also require very clean water. 

Mississippi map turtles’ diet consists mostly of insects and other invertebrates, although they will also eat some plant material.

They’re also excellent pets for observing than for handling on a regular basis. The Mississippi Map Turtle is a shy creature who prefers to be left alone. They have extremely powerful jaws and will bite if frightened.

Caring for your Mississippi map turtle

Mississippi map turtles are relatively easy to care for, as long as their basic needs are met. These turtles require a large aquatic enclosure with plenty of space to swim and bask.

A Mississippi map turtle’s diet should consist of a variety of live insects, worms, and other invertebrates. 

If you are considering getting a Mississippi map turtle as a pet, be sure to do your research and make sure you are prepared to provide them with the care they need.

These turtles can make great pets for experienced reptile owners who are willing to commit to providing them with the proper care.

Mississippi map turtle behavior

Mississippi map turtles are shy, solitary creatures that prefer to be left alone. When they are not basking or swimming, Mississippi map turtles will often hide among the plants and rocks in their enclosure.

If you want to get a good look at your turtle, it is best to wait until they come out on its own. They are most active in the morning and evening and spend the hottest hours of the day basking in the sun.

Mississippi map turtles are generally peaceful creatures, but they can be territorial when it comes to basking spots.

It is not uncommon for turtles to fight over basking spots, so it is important to provide multiple basking spots in the enclosure if you have more than one turtle.

It is also important to note that Mississippi map turtles are not social creatures and should not be kept with other turtles or animals. They should each have their own separate enclosure.

Mississippi map turtle lifespan

They are relatively small, docile creatures that are easy to care for. Most Mississippi map turtles have a lifespan of 15 to 20 years, however, if housed properly in captivity, they can survive for up to 30 years or more. 

Proper housing for a Mississippi map turtle includes a tank with a water area large enough for the turtle to swim and bask, as well as a dry area where the turtle can rest and bask in the heat of ultraviolet light. 

Mississippi map turtles also require a diet of live food, such as worms, minnows, and crickets. The Mississippi map turtles are one of the more exotic pets that you can own.

They’re great for beginner owners because they don’t require much care but still provide years’ worth of entertainment.

Tank Size

A Mississippi map turtle’s enclosure should have a water area that is at least twice as large as the turtle’s. The best tank size for turtles is 40 gallons, but larger ones are better. 

Adult males Mississippi map turtle’s tank size should be no less than 180 gallons, while females should have a tank size of no less than 220 gallons. For example, if you have two turtles, the minimum tank size should be 80 gallons.

Tank Setup

The enclosure for a Mississippi map turtle should have both a water area and a dry land area. It is important for the water area to have plenty of plants and hiding spots so that your turtle can swim around without getting bored.

The basking spot should be on a dry land area and should be equipped with a UVB light. They are both strong swimmers. These turtles are fast in the water and enjoy diving deep.

Gravel and rocks can be used to create a naturalistic look in the enclosure, however, it is important to avoid using any rocks or gravel that are small enough for the turtle to swallow.

Plants can also be used in the enclosure, however, it is important to make sure that the plants are non-toxic and safe for your turtle to eat. Don’t forget about the filtration equipment.

A good filter is a must in any turtle enclosure. Ammonia and nitrate levels will increase if suitable filtration equipment is not in place. Furthermore, algae will become uncontrollable.

Their water must be maintained very clean to avoid disease. Because they eat in the water, use the water as a bathroom, and nip at the aquatic plants in the tank, this can be a difficult task.

You’ll have to keep an eye on the tank water and make sure the filter is in good operating order on a weekly basis.


Mississippi map turtles require a basking spot that has a temperature of 88-92 degrees Fahrenheit.

The water temperature should be kept between 75 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. A basking light and a water heater will be needed to maintain these temperatures.

Providing a UVB light for your turtle is important. This helps the animal synthesize vitamin D3, which it requires in order to absorb calcium properly and maintain healthy bones.

During day time, turn on a 12-hour runtime lamp so that they can produce these crucial nutrients from sunlight through photosynthesis

Maintaining proper temperatures inside their enclosures should also be considered. Replace the bulb every 6 months and position it so that the turtle can bask in the light.

UVB lighting is not only beneficial for the turtle’s health, but it also helps to create a more naturalistic environment. 

In the wild, turtles will bask in the sun to warm up and then dive into the water to cool down. In captivity, it is important to provide a basking spot for your turtle so that it can regulate its own body temperature.


Mississippi map turtles are omnivores and require a diet that consists of both plant matter and live food. Turtle pellets or canned turtle food can be given as a supplement to their diet, however, it is important to make sure that these foods do not make up the majority of their diet. 

A good way to ensure that your turtle is getting enough variety in its diet is to offer them a mix of frozen, freeze-dried, and live foods.

Some good options for live food include crickets, worms, and minnows. Vegetables such as collard greens, kale, and romaine lettuce, parsley, can be offered as well.

It is important to chop or shred the vegetables into small pieces so that the turtle can easily eat them. Fatty fish like goldfish should be avoided as they can lead to health problems.

Turtles are messy eaters, so it is important to have a good filter in their enclosure. The water in the turtle’s enclosure will need to be changed on a weekly basis, and the filter should be cleaned monthly.

They can be found eating insects and other small prey such as tadpoles or bugs among plants along streamsides where they live.

In captivity

However Captive turtles can become obese if they are fed too much. They have a metabolism that burns calories at an increased rate, making them naturally thin and healthy despite not being active like other animals in nature that need to search for their own food all day long.

Feeding your pet map turtles should only be done when they are hungry, and it is best not to feed them more than three times per week.

If you need to feed them more often than this, then only give them enough food for two to three minutes at a time. 

Feeding them twice a day, at the times when they are typically most active, will help ensure that they get the exercise that they need to stay healthy.

Color and appearance 

Mississippi map turtles are named for their distinctive map-like markings on their shells. The top of the turtle’s shell is brown or olive, with dark spots or streaks that create a “map-like” appearance.

The bottom of the shell is yellowish, and the sides of the shell are often stained with mud or algae. The turtle’s head and neck are usually dark brown or black, with yellow or orange stripes running along the sides.

The legs and feet are also typically dark brown or black, with some yellow or orange markings. The turtle’s tail is long and slender, and it can be used as a weapon if the turtle feels threatened.

Mississippi map turtles are an interesting species to observe, and they make a great addition to any collection of turtles.

Health issues

Mississippi map turtles are susceptible to a number of health problems, including respiratory infections, shell rot, and vitamin deficiencies.

The health of your turtle is very important to you, and it’s something that should be taken seriously.

Parasites can pass from one human host (or animal)to another through direct contact with an infected person or by eating food contaminated by their waste products; this means proper precautions needn’t just to protect yourself while handling our pets but also those around them too.

Turtles may also face bone and shell problems if they do not have a proper diet or if their enclosure is not large enough.

Your turtle’s beak and nails should be kept at a healthy length, and they may need trimming on a regular basis if they are unable to grind them down in their natural environment. 

If you notice any changes in the way your turtle acts or looks, take him to a veterinarian as soon for an examination. Regular check-ups with a veterinarian who is experienced in treating turtles are also recommended.

If you want to give your turtle the best chance at living a long and healthy life, then be aware of potential health problems as they arise.

Dealing with them

As with any pet, it is important to handle your turtle with care. They are fragile creatures, and their shells can be easily damaged.

Underneath a turtle, make sure you support its body. Never pick them up by the tail, as this can cause injury. Turtles should not be handled too often, as this can stress them out. 

By handling your turtle gently and only when necessary, you can help ensure that they stay healthy and happy.


Mississippi map turtles are a unique and interesting species of turtle that make a great addition to any collection.

They are named for their distinctive map-like markings on their shells, which help to camouflage them underwater. These turtles are medium-sized, with adults reaching an average shell length of 6-8 inches.

They require a large enclosure with plenty of places to hide, and they should be fed a varied diet of live food.

One of the most important things you can do for your Mississippi map turtles is to take them to the veterinarian regularly.

A vet is essential, as they are susceptible to many health problems that might not show up immediately but could lead directly towards death or illness later on down the line if left unchecked.

Good care is essential for the well-being of our turtles! Providing them with a proper environment ensures that they can live long and healthy lives.

We hope that after reading this article, you now know more about the map turtles of Mississippi! Thanks for joining us.


What are Mississippi map turtles eating?

In the wild their diet consists of aquatic invertebrates like shrimp or worms along with fish eggs; however, in captivity, it is recommended to feed them only live food such as crickets for instance which have been known not just to be easier on your pet’s digestive system but provide more nutritional value too. They may also eat some vegetation, such as lettuce or spinach.

What is the maximum size of Mississippi map turtles?

Map turtles grow to 4-6 inches in length as adults. However, they can sometimes grow up to 8 inches in length.

What is the lifespan of Mississippi map turtles?

Map turtles can live 20 years or more in captivity. It takes them only 10-15 years to live in the wild.

Do Mississippi map turtles make good pets?

Mississippi map turtles can make good pets if they are well-cared for. However, they are high-maintenance creatures that require a large enclosure and a varied diet of live food.

The Mississippi map turtle is not only high maintenance but also prone to a number of health problems. It’s important that you take them in for regular checkups with their vet so they can stay healthy and happy.

What do the markings on Mississippi map turtles’ shells look like?

The top of the turtle’s shell is brown or olive, with dark spots or streaks that create a “map-like” appearance. The bottom of the shell is yellowish.

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