Map turtles a.k.a Graptemys sp. (Mississippi Map Turtles, Black Knob Map Turtles, Ouachita Map Turtles, Common Map Turtles)
Intro to Map Turtles
Map turtles are a genus of turtles native to North America known for their fair size and variety of appearances. Shell length averages at 6-10 inches (males staying smaller), and each has a unique shell pattern and coloration. These turtles are often looked at as one of the best solutions to people who want that classic turtle look, but not the size of the common slider turtle.They are also bold turtles and are very interactive.
Map Turtle Care
Being small-medium sized turtles, husbandry is quite easy. A 20 gallon aquarium is enough for 1 to 2 turtles for their first 2 years, and an additional 10 gallons should be added for each turtle. Always pair turtles of similar size and it is advised to feed separately to avoid competition. They’re very active swimmers, as they spend most of their day chasing small fish and looking for mollusks. Babies should be kept at a water depth about the length of your index finger, and can be upgraded to higher water depth as they age. Make sure to provide plenty of cover and obstacles like wood and plants for the turtles to grab onto in order to swim up for air. Like all turtles, Map turtles need a basking area and UVB source where they can completely dry off and thermoregulate. The mid 90s are a stable basking temperature, and water temperature can be room temperature (mid 70s to 80 degrees). Filtration is best done using an internal filter for smaller tanks, or a canister filter with larger tanks. It is recommended to use a filter rated for more gallons than the aquarium, as turtles in general are very messy. Water changes should be done at least bi-weekly. Map turtles tend to be fairly cold tolerant, as the range for some species extends into the Northern portions of North America. This allows them to be excellent pond turtles year round given proper substrate to hibernate under and safety parameters. Their diet consists mostly of mollusks and crustaceans, but they are not picky with their food. Pellets, insects, and cut fish are other great things to feed them.
Map turtles are commonly available, with many people working with the different species and locaties. Map turtle species come in all different sizes and colors. Some of the more popular ones tend to be Mississippi maps and Northerns. Two of the most notable and sought after species are the Yellow blotched map turtle and the Black knobbed map turtle due to their unique appearance. These turtles as a whole are very active aquarium inhabitants and can make excellent pets under proper care. It is also very important to understand the responsibility of keeping animals such as turtles. Turtles tend to be the most neglected and abused pets, and have become invasive in many parts of the world due to irresponsible owners letting them go. The plan should never be to let it go once it gets too big. Always consider the long term ownership of a turtle before purchasing one.