The map turtle’s top shell is beautiful and somewhat similar to that of painted turtles and also the slider family. One difference is the keel running down its center. In some species of map turtle, it even includes biggish knobs that protrude upward or towards the back. That is why map turtles are also known by the alternative name of Sawback turtle.
Map turtles are known for their agile movements within the water, if they need to make a quick getaway.
As captives, much of the instructions for painted turtles or sliders, also apply to map turtles. Regular PH readings for their tank water is advised as they may be acutely affected by impurities. They can thrive in an interior or exterior setting.
For map turtles kept inside, you may need to provide UV illumination or Vitamin D3 with their food. They can be fed a combination of animal and plant food.
When in the wild, meat takes up a larger portion of their diet and this includes earthworms, bloodworms, crayfish, ghost shrimp, feeder fish, feeder crickets and krill. Owners may wish to indulge such preferences as well. There are even some who offer mouse pups, but this will need to have the hair removed, as hair cannot be digested by the turtle and could cause hairballs and other digestive complications. Aquatic plants to offer your map turtle may feature water lilies, water hyacinth, duckweed, water lettuce and pondweed. More meal suggestions include such turtle favorites as zucchini, kale, dandelion, mustard greens, beet leaves, Romaine lettuce and Endive.
Northern map turtles are very hearty eaters and carers should guard against overfeeding them. This could lead to a variety of possible health problems, ranging from pyramiding to organ damage.
This species is very fond of sunning itself in its native environment, and a basking platform will probably see plenty of use. Ideally the temperature would range between 85 and 90 Fahrenheit (29.4 and 32.2 degrees Celsius). Another suggestion for the comfort of your map turtle would be to add an underwater heater. You should take care that the turtle has no direct access to this feature, as it may get burnt or accidentally break it.
As map turtles are naturally talented and strong swimmers, the water level within their tank could be fairly deep. Make their habitat interesting, by adding scenery they can use for cover, such as driftwood or rocks. If using gravel, avoid stones that can be ingested. You would also require a functional water filter to clear the ammonia they release into the water. For good hygiene replenish the water frequently. The chlorine should be removed before it is poured into the tank.
Elegant, yet durable, map turtles make a great choice for the first time turtle owners.
The carapace of the map turtle renders it distinct in a number of ways. Although physically reminiscent of painted turtles and sliders, one feature of the carapace differs from that both of those. A well-defined keel marks its center. In some species this is rendered even more prominent by a collection of large knobs or spines that jut either up or towards the back. For this reason, this type is sometimes also called the Sawback turtle. It makes the back of the turtle seem serrated.
Another characteristic that distinguishes them is the surprising speed they are able to muster in emergencies.
When kept as pets, their care is similar to that of painted turtles and sliders, although they can be more sensitive to impurities in their water. They can be kept inside or outside.
If housed indoors, map turtles will need access to UV lighting or a Vitamin D3 diet with their food. Their meals can include a large variety of plant and animal matter.
In nature, they are predominantly meat eating, consuming earthworms, bloodworms, crayfish, ghost shrimp, feeder fish, feeder crickets and krill. Some of the vegetation they also sample includes water lilies, water hyacinth, duckweed, water lettuce and pondweed. A few other types of vegetables and plant matter such as zucchini, kale, dandelion, mustard greens, beet leaves, Romaine lettuce and Endive. Avoid fruit if possible or keep it for very rare treats. Also avoid feeding any hairy animals. Some owners offer hairless mouse pups, but as hair is indigestible, anything with hair could subject the turtle to hairballs that would cause obstruction within the gut.
Northern map turtles have a ferocious appetite and can easily be overfed, with disastrous consequences. Too much protein can make them prone to pyramiding or liver and kidney complications.
In the wild, this type of turtle can bask for hours. A pet’s enclosure should feature a basking platform, where a temperature of 85 to 90 Fahrenheit (29.4 to 32.2 degrees Celsius) is maintained. The water may also need to be heated, but be careful with the safety of submersible heaters. Placement should be such as to avoid the turtle getting burnt or being in a position to damage the heater.
Map turtles are accomplished swimmers and the water can be quite deep. Provide features such as driftwood and rocks, but be careful with gravel small enough to swallow. To deal with the ammonia they excrete into the water, you will need a relatively powerful water filtration system. Change the water on a regular basis and dechlorinate it before adding it to the tank. If you have hatchlings they may need to be accommodated in shallower water.
Map turtles are hardy and attractive and make great pets for beginner turtle owners.