Mississippi Map Turtle Facts On What Do Turtles Eat
Mississippi Map Turtle (Graptemys kohnii) pets are an excellent choice for a beginner pet turtle owner.
They are considered one of the more visually appealing types of turtles because of their pronounced ridge of scales along the top of the shell and the intricate pattern of yellow to orange designs on the carapace. These designs resemble that of a road map, hence the name map turtle.
The Mississippi map turtle is probably the shyest of aquatic turtles. And although they are avid baskers, the Mississippi map turtle tends to be very skittish and will enter the water at the slightest sign of danger.
In terms of size, a Mississippi map turtle is considered a “normal” size for aquatic turtles. A female Mississippi map turtle, being larger than the males, can reach about seven inches in length. Males tend to grow to about 5 to 6 inches.
Be mindful of this if you have multiple turtles in a single enclosure.
To avoid this be sure have plenty of decorations (hiding spots) and basking areas for each pet turtle. Avoid over crowding as much as possible.
Mississippi Map Turtle – Where Can They Be Found?
There are eleven species of map turtles recognized which are spread throughout the United States. Mostly residing in the southeastern regions near river systems.
They occur in the Mississippi Valley from Nebraska to Illinois, down into the sourthern US between Texas and Mississippi. As you may have guessed the Mississippi map turtle is mainly concentrated in Mississippi.
They prefer lakes, rivers, and large streams compared to more isolated ponds and small creeks.
Although they are similar to other aquatic turtles such as the red eared slider, mississippi map turtles have more specific needs in terms of care and housing.
Since they tend to prefer clear, fast-flowing rivers, the Mississippi map turtle needs their housing to have plenty of filtration and oxygenated water.
Map turtles seem to be less tolerant of poor water conditions than other aquatic turtles. Water cleanliness and quality must be maintained for the health of the turtles.
What Do Turtles Eat – Mississippi Map Turtle
What do turtles eat you ask? Well for the mississippi map turtle you’ll find they tend to prefer a wide variety of animals and vegetation. Because they are omnivores, they’ll pretty much eat anything they can find or scavenge in the water and along the water edges.
What Do Turtles Eat In The Wild – Mississippi Map Turtle
Typically, hatchlings and a younger map turtle prefer more of a plant based diet but grow more carnivorous as they age.
Because of their muscular jaws, especially in adult females, the Mississippi map turtle has a natural diet of:
Snails, Crayfish, Flies, Lettuce, Crickets, Earth Worms, Meal Worms, Minnows, Aquatic Vegetation, Carrots, etc.
What Do Turtles Eat In The Home – Mississippi Map Turtle
But when considering the question of what do turtles eat as pets, you’ll find that many of the same items found in the wild can be included in the Mississippi map turtle diet.
It’s important to note that, like most pet turtles, the Mississippi map turtle is unlikely to get 100% of the required vitamins in the food it eats. Because of this you should always try to include a multi-vitamin supplement with their meals to ensure a healthy diet.
In captivity they will eagerly eat:
Fish, Shellfish, Chicken, Turkey, Liver, Lettuce, Various Insects, Freeze-dried Shrimp, Krill, Carrots, Cucumbers, Aquatic Plants, etc.
If fresh foods aren’t easily available, you can always go the route of giving your Mississippi map turtle commercial pet food.
But no matter what you think would be best for your Mississippi map turtle, keep in mind that they are like every other pet and have their own tastes and preferences which can vary.
Don’t be concerned immediately if you notice your Mississippi map turtle isn’t eagerly eating thier prepared meal. Give them some time to see if they come around.
But if after a couple/few days, they are still not eating, consider swapping out some items and trying again.
What Do Turtles Eat – Things To Avoid When Feeding A Mississippi Map Turtle
As with any pet turtle, you need to do your best to ensure your mississippi map turtle is as healthy as it can be. Furthermore you need to make sure your family is safe and healthy at the same time without much sacrifice from your turtle.
Here are some helpful tips to balance the best of both.
No Fried Foods: Avoid giving pet turtles any sort of fried or oily foods. That means no french fries, donuts, onion rings, etc.
No Sugary Foods: Avoid giving your pet turtle any type of sugary foods such as candy or chocolate. Not only is it unhealthy for your turtle, a lot of these foods tend to be hard and may pose a choking hazard for your little friend.
No Dairy Foods: Turtles don’t have the necessary enzymes to correctly digest lactose. So be sure to avoid items such as milk, cheese, butter, etc.
No Sharing Foods: Avoid sharing your food and meals with your turtle. Many turtles, like most aquatic animals, carry salmonella bacteria. Salmonella does not affect them like it does humans.
No Kissing: No seriously, don’t kiss your turtle. Though they are incredibly cute when they are young and small, they carry salmonella and the last thing you want is to become sick from your turtle.
No Dirty Hands: Whenever you handle your turtle be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap. If you have children, be sure to enforce this rule every time.
Knowing What Do Turtles Eat For A Happy And Healthy Mississippi Map Turtle
And there you have it. What do turtles eat you ask? For the Mississippi Map Turtle you now have the Do’s and Don’ts of a happy healthy pet turtle. Like every pet, the Mississippi map turtle can make an excellent companion when taken care of and fed properly.
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