Mississippi Map Turtle Care

Mississippi Map Turtle Care: Everything You Need to Know!

Not everyone is a cat or dog person. Some people don’t like cute, cuddly pets. And if you are one of them, then the Mississippi Map turtle is an excellent choice for your companion as they do not like to be bothered much because of their nervous nature.  

But is it the right choice for you? Are you capable of taking care of a turtle all on your own? These are some things you need to know before you go and adopt one as your pet. That’s why we have designed this article to answer all your questions. 

So, let’s dive into the article to learn more about Mississippi Map turtle care without further ado. 

Basic Info about Mississippi Map Turtle


Before learning about care details, let’s learn some basic information about the Mississippi Map turtles.

Basic Info about Mississippi Map Turtle
Scientific NameGraptemys pseudogeographica kohni
Common NameMississippi Map Turtle
Adult SizeFemales range from 6-10 inches in length; males are 3 ½ – 5 inches.
Max Size6-10 inches
Lifespan15-20 years
DietAquatic insects and vegetation
RangeTexas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas north along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Ohio river drainages to North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.
BehaviorNervous in nature, dominance collision in females
Clutch SizeAverages 10-12 eggs, producing 2 or 3 clutches a year
Legal to Keep in USANo 
Extinction StatusLeast concern

Are Mississippi Map Turtles easy to take care of?

No. Mississippi Map turtles as pets require a lot of time and money. As a beginner, many people might think that a turtle is a great place to start as they are pretty undemanding. But the truth is, their maintenance is quite tricky and can take a whole lot of your time and money. 

Mississippi Map is an aquatic turtle species. So, not only will you need a tank, but you will also need to maintain a perfect temperature and oxygen level in the water to keep your pet healthy. 

Feeding your Mississippi Map is another challenge to face. These species require a high-protein diet along with leafy greens. Then again, you will have to avoid fatty fish, and you have to balance the proteins or the greens. 

Are Mississippi Map Turtles easy to take care of

The turtle’s feeding requirements vary between the genders. As female Mississippi Maps are larger in size, they have more giant jaws and consume more food than males. 

In a nutshell, if you are an experienced turtle owner, you can go for a Map turtle. Otherwise, it will be a lot on your plate. 

How to take care of a Mississippi Map Turtle? 

Before adopting a Mississippi Map turtle, you should have proper knowledge on how to take care of such a pet as they are pretty high maintenance. That’s why we have come forward to help you with information on your Mississippi Map turtle needs. 

How to take care of a Mississippi Map Turtle

Let’s read below to learn about the care of Mississippi Map turtle. 

Size of the Tank

The size of your aquarium will entirely depend on whether you choose a male or female turtle. You will need smaller tanks for male ones. They consequently require a smaller environment than females because of their size.

Full-grown Mississippi map turtle males can survive in tanks as small as 75 gallons. However, if at all possible, you can increase that to 90 gallons. Height is not a major consideration because reptiles cannot climb. It is suitable for you to stand at least one foot tall.

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Women will require a significantly bigger tank. Tanks for females should ideally be no smaller than 125 gallons. The required length should be roughly 72 inches.


The Mississippi map turtle habitat does not need the substrate. However, you may add aquatic plants or layer the bottom to improve the tank’s appearance.

Sand and mud are not recommended as bedding. You can purchase huge stones, medium-sized gravel, or broken coral and add it to the tank’s bottom.

Being naturally interested, Mississippi map turtles may attempt to taste the substrate. The turtle will choke on the element and become unwell if it is poisonous. So, when selecting a substrate for your Mississippi map turtle habitat, you must be very cautious.

The lighting of the Tank

Outside-housed map turtles don’t require additional UVB lighting because the sun provides enough of it naturally. However, full-spectrum UVA/UVB illumination and additional heat lamps are necessary if you have set up your turtle tank indoors

You should use a particular reptile UVB bulb to deliver UVB lighting for 12 hours a day, every day of the year. Additionally, you will need to change this bulb every six months because these invisible UVB rays have a shorter lifespan than visible white light.

The temperature of the Tank

You have to keep the water’s temperature between 70° and 75° F. You can use Titanium Aquarium Heaters for Fish & Turtle Tanks or other submersible heaters. 

You need to keep the temperature in the sunbathing area at about 95 degrees. Big Apple’s Black Heat Infrared Ceramic Heat Emitters are perfect for this use. 

Take care of a Mississippi Map Turtle

It is important to use a thermostat, such as the BAH-500 or BAH-1000DC, to control the ceramic emitter and a thermometer to keep an eye on the temperatures.

Food and Water

As omnivores, Mississippi map turtles consume plant and animal stuff in their diet. Despite having a wide variety of food alternatives, these turtles’ primary diet in captivity is pellets. 

The Mississippi map turtle can get all the nutrients it needs from these store-bought foods.

But to balance the meal, you must include green leafy vegetables in the map turtle diet.

A Mississippi map turtle could consume the following items:

Animal MattersPlant Matters Fruits Commercial FoodSupplements
Feeder fish, Crayfish,
Green crabs,
Wasps and ants,
Fly larvae
Romaine lettuce, Parsley,
Water lilies,
Turnip greens,
Mustard green,
Collard greens
Pellets Multivitamins, Vitamin D3, Calcium

Baby turtles should only be fed once per day. On the other hand, adults can be fed four to five times each week. Overfeeding is also not advised because it might cause obesity in your turtle, which can shorten its lifespan.

Health Issues

Mississippi Map is prone to many health issues like intestinal parasites, skin, shell, ear infections, etc., and many more problems due to unclean water. You must clean your turtle’s shell and skin with a toothbrush to avoid algae buildup

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Their beak and nails also need periodical trimmings to keep them neat and clean in case they are unable to do it by themselves. The tank needs proper UVB lighting to protect the turtles from metabolic bone disease and other shell deformities


Despite being somewhat timid and shy, these turtles make incredible communal turtles because they rarely bite.

Mississippi Map Turtle

Males may exhibit some territorial and aggressive behavior while around females. Males have also been observed sexually harassing females, which may be the reason for the couple’s split.

It’s also advised to keep fewer female turtles together because their dominance-asserting behaviors could scare other turtles and make them feel uneasy in their enclosure.

Tank Maintenace

Since Mississippi map turtles spend most of their time in the water, maintaining a warm, hygienic environment is essential. Due to their high protein diet, these turtles may be rather messy, thus, a powerful filter is needed to keep them tidy. 

If your filter is strong, you should only need to check it once every two weeks and clean the entire enclosure once every three months.

To remove chlorine, you should always treat the water before being added to the turtles’ habitat. If you don’t do this, the biological pads in your filter may become disturbed by trace substances in the tap water. And that may even affect your pet.

Can you keep Mississippi Map Turtle as a pet? 

Yes, you can. But they are very challenging to keep as pets. They are suspicious and anxious turtles who get stressed out quickly. There are a lot of factors you will have to take into account to manage a Mississippi Map turtle. 

Can you keep Mississippi Map Turtle as a pet

The Mississippi map needs clean water and a sizable enclosure when kept in captivity. You should only keep a Map turtle if you are a knowledgeable turtle keeper and capable of maintaining such high maintenance pet. 

What does a Mississippi Map Turtle need in a tank?

Mississippi Map turtles are avid swimmers. So, the first thing they need in their tank is plenty of room for swimming. But a turtle cannot continually be swimming or floating in the water. It needs a piece of land or a sunbathing location to dry off and soak its moist body.

For your pet turtle, you can either purchase a commercial basking platform or build one yourself. Typically, the best DIY basking docks for Mississippi map turtles are made of smooth metal sheets, plastic, foam, ceramic tiles, logs, etc.

What does a Mississippi Map Turtle need in a tank

You might wonder, is it important to set up a basking dock in the tank? Well, turtles require a place to immerse their dry bodies and enjoy the heat. The turtles will get bacterial and fungi infections if they wander around in a moist body.

Do Mississippi Map Turtles Get Along with Other Pets?

No. They do get along well with their fellow turtles but keeping them around pets that make noises or jump around is not a very good idea. Mississippi Map turtles get startled easily. So, it’s better to keep them away from other pets like cats and dogs. 

You should not keep a map turtle alone in a tank because it gets boring and lonely. But make sure to balance the number of male and female turtles in the tank to avoid disturbance in the tank. 

Final words 

Now that you have the ultimate Mississippi Map turtle care sheet, you can easily opt for one as your pet. But only if you have previous success as a turtle owner. 

Otherwise, adopting a Mississippi Map can be a bit overwhelming if you are a novice pet owner. You should start with a less tricky species or other low-maintenance pets. 

Keep your turtle tank clean and maintain the oxygen level and UVB rays balance. Don’t feed them more than the required amount to ensure their long lifespan. 

Mississippi Map Turtle Care

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