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Baby Mississippi Map Turtles

Baby Mississippi Map Turtles

All pets will be on customer collection only basis as we will not send pets by mail.

Shell - One of distinguishing features of map turtles is the ridge of black tipped knobs running along the spine, and the jagged rear carapace edge. The shell is typically olive to brown with an intricate pattern of yellow to orange semi-circles on the carapace scutes (reminiscent of a road map); these patterns often fade with age & may be obscured by algae overgrowth. Mississippi maps have moderately prominent black-tipped knobbing (less than Black-Knobbed maps, more than Common maps).

Plastron - The plastron is tan to yellowish with brown lines resembling wood grain at the edges of the scutes. These fade with age and become less distinct. The plastron may have some dark patterning.

Head - The head of the Mississippi map has the main identifying feature. On the side of the head there will be a curved line (a ‘reverse crescent’) that curves down behind & sweeps under the eye. From the top view there is a single line running down the centre of the head separating the two crescent lines on the sides. Another semi-reliable distinguishing feature is the round pupil & bright, unbroken iris; Mississippi maps stereotypically have no bar across the pupil (unlike Ouachita & False maps), though exceptions exist.

Size - Females are considerably larger than males. The male being 3 ½” to 5” and the female anywhere from 6” to 10” SCL. Males have a leaner look more like juveniles, but females have a bulkier build.

Map turtles get their name from the lines and markings on their carapace which resemble the contour lines of a map. Sex can be determined by examining the tail. The tail of the female is considerably smaller than that of the male. The male has a much thicker-based and longer tail than the small petite tail of the female. Males also have slightly longer nails on the forelegs (similar to painted males, but not the extent of male sliders & cooters).


Though similar in appearance to Sliders and Painted turtles, Map turtles have some unique and specific needs. Map turtles are generally found in clear, fast-flowing rivers and so require plenty of filtration and oxygenated water in their captive enclosures. A 20-gallon long aquarium will still work well for two or three babies, but a keeper should be sure to keep the water clean. Use a internal filter to add oxygen and a bit of turbulence to the water. They seem to love it! These turtles are baskers, so be sure to add some driftwood and other places for them to rest and get some heat and UVB.

As they grow, watch for aggression in Map turtles. Larger specimens, especially females are often aggressive to the subordinate males and to any smaller turtles housed with them. Therefore, it is important to add plenty of decorations and an extra basking spot or two to their environment and to avoid crowding.

Map turtles thrive in outdoor ponds. They are avid baskers so at least one large basking spot should be available. Northern species will hibernate, and care must be taken to formulate a plan for a moderately cool hibernation area. Most southern species will need to be brought inside during the coldest parts of winter (below 45° to 50° F). They should, however, be kept cool during this time in an effort to inspire courtship and breeding behavior once they are returned to a warm outdoor enclosure in the spring.

For outdoor enclosures, we suggest that you do not crowd your map turtles. The addition of lots of aquatic plants, especially floating varieties (water lettuce, water hyacinth, and duckweed) helps keep the outdoor map turtle pond healthy and keeps the oxygen level high.


Map turtles are omnivores. In captivity, the majority of their captive diet consists of floating aquatic turtle food and a variety of aquatic plants. Typically, hatchlings and young map turtles feed on more plant matter than adults. Physically, adults develop large, muscular jaws in response to a natural diet of hard-shelled snails and crayfish. They also eat a wide variety of insects. Freeze-dried shrimp and krill are a great treat for map turtles. These can be bought in most pet stores that offer tropical fish food and supplies.

TEMPERATURE RANGE (°F) Air Temperature: Low to mid 80's Basking Temperature: High 80's to low 90's (the basking platform should be large enough to allow a range of temp.s). Water Temperature: Low to mid 70's for adults. Around 80º for hatchlings.


Map Turtles should have a source of UVB fluorescent such as a ReptiSun 5.0 for UV-B & a separate basking lamp for heat; some UV-B mercury vapor bulbs are an option). Being avid swimmers they need plenty of swimming room, both vertical and horizontal. Map turtles as a class have a reputation for being more prone to health problems if high water quality isn’t maintained; it’s unclear how much of an issue this is for Mississippi maps.



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