Northern Map Turtle

Northern Map Turtle
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  • Item #: NM


Scientific Name:  Graptemys geographica

Identification:  The most noticeable characteristic of this species are the "loosely" parallel radiating lines on the head and neck that are interrupted by a variable yellow spot on each side of the head behind the eyes. This amorphous spot can be round, triangular, rectangular or any other random shape. The carapace is brownish or olive-green with a reticulate pattern of "map-like" sequences throughout. The plastron is cream colored with no pattern. However, hatchlings have black outlines following the seems of the plastron

Range: The Northern Map Turtle has by far the largest natural range of any map species. They naturally range from the north-central to north-eastern U.S. (extending up to Montana, Wisconsin, Michigan, the northern border of New York, up to southwestern Maine & extreme southeastern Canada) & extend down in 2 separate branches, a west branch descending across Iowa down through Missouri & into Arkansas, & an east branch coming down through Indiana & Ohio through Kentucky & Tennessee into Alabama.  

Diet:  Map turtles are more carnivorous than most other members of the family Emydidae, and the northern map turtle is no exception.  Throughout their lives, Northern maps are predominantly carnivorous but even juveniles may take some vegetation (such as Anacharis), although not as much as cooters, sliders & painted turtles. Their raw drive to gorge on higher protein foods makes it easy to feed too much protein (causing very rapid growth & a pyramided shell, & suspected to cause liver & kidney damage).  Keep a check on the turtle's diet and ensure it gets a low-volume well-rounded diet. There are many foods they eat: Mazuri and ReptoMin, Reptile/Pond 10, Cichlid Sticks, feeder fish, feeder crickets, earthworms, krill, blood worms, occasional crayfish & ghost shrimp

This species used to be called the “common map turtle,” but biologists recommend avoiding the word “common” in the name, since it might mislead people into thinking these animals are abundant, when in fact they simply have a broad geographical distribution. This species is declining in much of its range and is listed as endangered in Kansas, Kentucky, and Maryland. Map Turtles, along with Painted Turtles, are the main 'second tier' basking turtles in the U.S. pet trade (after the phenomenally numerous, wide-spread Red-eared Slider). However, the Mississippi Map turtle is far & away the most populous pet map turtle (in the U.S.), with Ouachita & False maps coming up next. Northern Map Turtles are somewhat uncommon in captive collections. This turtle is dormant from approximately November through early April depending on local climactic factors. Northern map turtles spend the winter under water and do not surface to breathe, especially when ice cover makes this impossible. Adults rest on the bottom or wedged underneath rocks or logs and often hibernate communally with other northern map turtles where they may remain somewhat active.   Hibernacula must be well oxygenated because, unlike some other turtle species such as painted turtles, map turtles need to absorb oxygen from the water in order to survive the winter.  They are avid baskers and they bask in groups. They are diurnal. They are also a very wary animal; at the slightest hint of danger they slip into the water and hide.
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Price $49.00

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