Juvenile Mississippi Map Turtle
Age Group: Juvenile
Common Name: Mississippi Map Turtle
Scientific Name: Graptemys pseudogeographica
Description: Juvenile Mississippi Map Turtles are approximately 2 to 3” in diameter. They have jagged, serrated scutes on their map-like carapace with its lines that resemble waterways. The lines are generally orange or yellow in color with darker background colors ranging from greens to browns. The most indicative marking of this species is a crescent moon shaped spot. They also have thick lines on their face and limbs that are bright yellow on an olive to grey background.
Origin: This species is found along the Mississippi River and its tributaries, from Illinois and Missouri.
Lifespan: Mississippi Map Turtles can live up to 30 years.
Habitat in captivity: Juvenile Mississippi Map Turtles can be housed in a 20 to 40 gallon aquarium. They are good swimmers and frequent baskers. You need to offer the following necessities;
- UVB Light – Without UVB lighting, your turtle will suffer from metabolic bone disease. UVB is needed to metabolize the calcium needed for healthy shell and bone growth. These lights need to be changed every 6 months if you are using a Coil Bulb or every year with a Mercury Vapor Bulb. Mercury Vapor Bulbs are a great all in one solution to turtle lighting, providing UVA, UVB and heat.
- Basking Light and UVA – Offer your turtle a basking area with a light that brings the temperatures up to the high 80’s. A basking area that is warm and bright is necessary to encourage proper feeding responses, digestion and behavior in reptiles.
- Heat – The water temperature in your map turtle’s habitat should be maintained at approximately 75 to 78 degrees for juveniles by using a submersible water heater
- Filtration – Ammonia and other toxins can harm your turtle. Make sure you are providing good water filtration to maintain a healthy living environment.
- Habitat Décor – These turtles are happy if they can swim and bask. The rest is up to the owner. Cage decorations can include substrate, ornaments and Driftwood. Live plants are always a fantastic choice for both shelter and as a snack.
Diet: Juvenile Mississippi Map Turtles are omnivores. As they grow, you will see them transition from primarily carnivorous to a more balanced diet. They will readily eat a wide variety of foods. There are commercially available diets, like those from Zilla or ReptoMin. These are a great choice offering necessary vitamin supplementation. Along with that they can be fed feeder fish, feeder crickets, earthworms, krill, blood worms, occasional crayfish and ghost shrimp, aquatic plants (such as Water Lilies, Water Hyacinth, Duckweed, Anacharis, Water Lettuce, Water Fern, Pondweed, Water Starwort, Hornwort, Water Milfoil, and Frogbit), some vegetables (such as Zucchini, Squash, Collard Greens, Beet Leaves, Endive, Romaine, Red Leaf Lettuce, Kale, Escarole, Mustard Greens and Dandelions) and some fruits (i.e. Banana).
Size at adulthood: Mississippi maps are a smaller species, growing 4 - 6 inches (males are a lot smaller than females)
Community Turtle: Mississippi map turtles are communal and are best housed in groups. Remember that for every inch of turtle you house, add 10 gallons to the habitat.