Fun Map Turtle Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 21, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel
One of the best map turtle facts is that the pattern of its carapace is unique.

Map turtles have a very intriguing name and a very interesting background, too. They get their name because their shell resembles the contours of an elevation map. These contour lines are in shades of orange, mustard, or tan and have dark-brown borders.

These turtles inhabit lakes, ponds, and rivers from Quebec to Arkansas and Alabama. They are also found near the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River. These turtles are found in abundance, and so they as listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

While some of these turtles are able to survive better underwater, some prefer living on dry ground. Keep reading below to know more about this particular species and if you like this article, you can also read our guides to the Florida softshell turtle and the hawksbill sea turtle.

Map Turtle Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a map turtle?

A map turtle belongs to the 'turtles' group of animals. They prefer living in an aquatic environment such as lakes, rivers, and ponds.

What class of animal does a map turtle belong to?

A map turtle belongs to the reptiles class of animals (Reptilia).

How many map turtles are there in the world?

The current population of map turtles is estimated to be 5.6 million. They are present in abundance with no major threat to their existence.

Where does a map turtle live?

Map turtles can be found from Quebec to Arkansas and Alabama. They can be located along the St. Lawrence River and from the Great Lakes and Wisconsin to Minnesota, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

They are also found in the Czech Republic. Their range is very extensive! They are also found near the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Mississippi River.

What is a map turtle's habitat?

This turtle species (map turtle) inhabits large bodies of water near fallen trees, lakes, rivers, and large streams. Since they are amphibians, they prefer inhabiting areas with a good mix of water and land like a river or lake.

Who do map turtles live with?

Common map turtles generally prefer living together in groups peacefully by a river or another water body. They are friendly in nature, and therefore, coexisting without conflict comes easily to them.

If these map turtles are adopted as pets, they can be both friendly and shy at the same time. They may take some time to warm up to you, but with time, they can become super-affectionate. This shows that they can cohabit pretty well with humans as well.

How long does a map turtle live?

Common turtles tend to have an average lifespan of approximately 15 to 20 years when left in the wild. However, if kept in captivity, they can survive for 30 long years and maybe live longer.

How do they reproduce?

Common map turtles display sexual dimorphism. This means that they have secondary differences between males and females, apart from the primary differences in their gonads. This can include differences in size, color, and weight.

The breeding season for these turtles is during spring (May to July). Adult females tend to look for fully drained grounds for mating, however, most mating actually happens only in deep waters. A male kickstarts the mating process by tapping on a female's carapace.

A nest cavity is dug pretty deep in order to keep the turtle's eggs safe and secure. The eggs, once laid, fill up the cavity.

The eggs require a minimum of 50-70 days for incubation and hatch around August or September. The temperature at which the eggs are incubated plays a major role in determining the gender of the chicks.

For instance, a temperature ranging from 77-82.4 F (25-28 C) will result in males while a temperature range of 86-89.6 F (30-32 C) will produce a female. Juveniles attain sexual maturity at an average age of 5,110 days.

What is their conservation status?

Common map turtles are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature).

Map Turtle Fun Facts

What do map turtles look like?

When talking about the appearance of map turtles, it is important to note that different species have different appearances. Each turtle displays minute differences.

For instance, northern map turtles have olive-green skin and a carapace filled with thin yellow markings but are lacking any form of spines. Instead, they tend to have pointed ends with small postorbital blotch. Their carapace length also varies from species to species.

These turtles all tend to have strong jaws (their bites can be very painful) and have a long, thick tail. They also have a yellow or orange rectangular patch behind the eye.

The bright yellow color right behind the eye makes this turtle all the more attractive.

How cute are they?

The northern map turtle is uber cute. Its colors blend over its soft skin, making it look all the more adorable and these turtles have small hands and legs with a tiny head which gives them a beautiful overall look. Watching these turtles is truly breathtaking.

How do they communicate?

These turtles can use their senses of touch and smell in order to communicate, but vocalizations are their primary mode of communication.

How big is a map turtle?

The average length of a map turtle male is 6 in (16 cm) and a map turtle female is 10 in (27 cm) long. The average weight for males is 8 lb (4 kg) and for females, it is 5 lb (2.5 kg).

How fast can a map turtle move?

The average speed of a common map turtle (Graptemys geographica) is 21 mph (35 kph).

How much does a map turtle weigh?

The average weight for males is 8 lb (4 kg) and for females, it is 5 lb (2.5 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for males or females. However, this species does have a scientific name which is Graptemys geographica.

What would you call a baby map turtle?

Juveniles are called map turtle hatchlings. How cute!

What do they eat?

The northern map turtle, also called the common map turtle, is known to be omnivorous. Almost all hunting by these turtles takes place underwater.

Female turtles tend to hunt bigger prey due to their strong jaws and large heads, whilst males stick to insects and worms. Females also feed on crayfish and these turtles also love to feed on dry fish.

Are they poisonous?

Although bites of a common sea turtle are painful, their saliva does include any poisonous substances that can cause harm. However, their saliva may contain harmful bacteria that can cause infections on the spot, so it is best to get any map turtle bite checked out by a doctor just in case.

Would they make a good pet?

Map turtles tend to be shy at first, but their friendly nature makes them quite good pets after some time. This particular species of turtles requires a lot of water for their best survival.

Along with plenty of water, they also need a dry docking area. Their diet must be taken care of, and lots of attention must be paid during their breeding time. The water quality level is also essential when keeping common map turtles.

Did you know...

There are various sub-species of map turtles like the northern map turtle, the common map turtle, Ouachita turtles, and the Mississippi map turtle.

Juveniles (baby turtles) tend to feed on plants as they lack a strong jaw to feed on other organisms.

These turtles display sexual dimorphism. To breed the map turtle, you have to first bring them up in two different tanks and slowly introduce breeding behavior into their habits by occasionally putting them in a cooler environment.

When it is time to breed, you must provide them with a ratio of two males and five females for the best chance of success.

Map turtles tend to hibernate as the winter season approaches, including Mississippi map turtles.

The maximum length to reach up to is seven to ten inches (17-25 cm).

These map turtles can cost from $15-$150 depending on the sub-species that you are buying.

The sawback turtle (false map turtle) is one of many turtles found in the United States. They do not bite.

Different types of map turtle

One of the best Texas map turtle facts is that this type of map turtle is well known for its popularity in pet trading. They tend to have beautiful patterns all over their body.

Their body has a splash of yellow and green color, while the pattern above is pitch black in color. Their carapace, on the other hand, has beautiful olive shades.

One of the best Mississippi map turtle facts is that a Mississippi map turtle can survive both on land and in water. One peculiarity about them is the fact that they get their name based on the design of their carapace.

Their carapace tends to display map-like markings, and so they are called 'map turtles'. They have dark olive green and yellow skin with pitch-black eyes. Just like other map turtles, their eyes tend to have yellow markings around them.

One of the best common map turtle facts is that 'common map turtle' is yet another name for the northern map turtle. This species of turtle has a splash of brown and yellow on its carapace, and its skin displays shades of yellow and brown. They tend to have distinguished patterns on their carapace.

Kids will love Ouachita map turtle facts too! This species of turtle has a mix of dark shades of brown all over its body. It tends to have a distinct design of carapace too and these turtles have a pattern on their base too! Their skin has a splash of yellow as well.

Keeping map turtles

If you are thinking of keeping a northern map turtle (Graptemys geographica) as a pet, two things that must be taken care of are the temperature and condition of the water it will live in and also the presence of a dry land patch in order to make its home feel just like a natural river or water body.

Also, make sure to pet them a lot because they love affection once they get to know you!

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other amphibians and reptiles, including the blue tongued skink or the olive ridley sea turtle.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our map turtle coloring pages.

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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Fact-checked by Yashvee Patel

Bachelor of Business Management

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Yashvee PatelBachelor of Business Management

Yashvee has won awards for both her writing and badminton skills. She holds a business administration honors degree and has previously interned with social media clients and worked on content for an international student festival. Yashvee has excelled in academic competitions, ranking in the top 100 in the Unified International English Olympiad and placing second in an essay-writing competition. Additionally, she has won the inter-school singles badminton title for two consecutive years.

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