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All 13 Map Turtle species are each fascinating and very enticing, with a number of being extremely prized by reptile followers. Though greatest reserved for knowledgeable keepers, Barbour’s Map Turtle (Graptemys barbouri) deserves extra consideration from each personal fanatics and zoos. With a specialised food plan and restricted vary, it faces an unsure future within the wild. I had the nice fortune to work with Barbour’s Map Turtles on the Bronx Zoo, and want to go alongside some ideas for these as much as the problem of maintaining this spectacular creature.



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Feminine Barbour’s Map Turtles are very spectacular, with noticeably-broad heads and shells that will method 12 inches in size. The narrow-headed males are a lot smaller – a mere three.2 to five.2 inches lengthy – as to look like of a special species.

The carapace is brown to olive-green, with pale yellow or white marks alongside its edge, and is topped by 2 spine-like ridges. Yellow stripes enhance the neck and legs, and there are blotches of yellow behind the eyes.

Ringed map turtle

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Different Map Turtles, whereas smaller, exhibit a wide selection of carapace “decorations”, colours and habits.  You possibly can learn extra about a few of these within the articles linked beneath.  Pictured right here is the spectacular Ringed Map Turtle (G. oculifera).


Vary and Habitat

The vary of this USA endemic is restricted to the Apalachicola River System within the Florida Panhandle and Georgia.

Type habitat

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Barbour’s Map Turtle is basically restricted to clear, limestone-bottomed streams that include quite a few fallen branches and timber. Extremely aquatic, it spends a lot time basking on logs, plunging into the water when disturbed. The Barbour’s Map Turtle feeds solely in water, and, besides when nesting, not often travels removed from shore.


The Aquarium

These massive, energetic turtles require spacious properties. Whereas a 55 gallon aquarium may swimsuit a small male, females want tanks of 125 – 200 gallon capability, or business turtle tubs and ponds.

Wading swimming pools are sometimes simpler to handle than aquariums. Koi ponds typically include cabinets meant to carry crops; these work nicely as turtle basking areas. Out of doors housing is right, assuming that raccoons and different predators may be excluded.

Though extremely aquatic, all map turtles want a dry floor on which to bask. Industrial turtle docks will suffice for small specimens. Cork bark, wedged or affixed through silicone to the aquarium’s sides, is an effective possibility for adults.


Turtles are messy feeders and very arduous on water high quality. Submersible or canister filters are obligatory except the enclosure may be emptied and cleaned a number of occasions weekly (I’ve discovered the Zoo Med Turtle Clean Filter to be ideally suited). Even with filtration, partial water modifications are important.

Eradicating your turtles to an easily-cleaned container for feeding will reduce the filter’s workload and assist to maintain the water clear.



Naked-bottomed aquariums are greatest, as gravel traps meals and wastes, tremendously complicating cleansing, and could also be swallowed together with meals.

Gentle and Warmth

Heliothermic turtles (those who bask) require UVB radiation in captivity. If a florescent bulb is used (the Zoo Med 10.0 Bulb supplies excessive UVB output), make certain that the turtle can bask inside 6-12 inches of it. Mercury vapor bulbs broadcast UVB over better distances, and additionally present helpful UVA radiation. Natural daylight is the perfect UVB supply, however bear in mind that tumbler filters-out UVB rays.

Water temperatures of 72-80 F ought to be maintained. An incandescent highlight bulb ought to be used to heat the basking web site to 90 F.



Barbour’s Map Turtles will eat or chase fishes, newts and aquatic frogs.

Females and juveniles could get alongside, however be ready to deal with them individually as aggression usually develops over time. Males usually harass females with mating makes an attempt, and could stress or chew them within the course of; grownup males can’t be saved collectively.

Freshwater clams

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Within the wild, feminine Barbour’s Map Turtles feed virtually fully upon recent water mussels, snails and crayfish. Males take smaller snails, bugs, crayfish, and fish.

Pets ought to be supplied a food plan comprised largely of snails, crayfish, and mussels, together with complete fishes, earthworms and prawn. These beneath my care accepted apple snails and different native and launched species that I collected and bred, European land snails (launched in NY, and additionally accessible in seafood markets), freshwater mussels and clams, periwinkles, crayfish, shiners, minnows, inexperienced crabs and fiddler crabs.

Goldfish ought to be used sparingly, if in any respect, as a gentle goldfish food plan has been linked to kidney and liver problems in different turtle species. A high quality commercial turtle chow can comprise as much as 30% of the food plan. A cuttlebone ought to be accessible to complement the calcium offered by complete fishes and related meals.

Different vital meals objects embody earthworms, krill, freeze-dried river shrimp and, to a lesser extent, crickets and different bugs.


Discipline research point out that females take 20 or extra years to achieve breeding age. This reality, together with their small pure vary and previous over-collection for the pet commerce, threatens the way forward for the Barbour’s Map Turtle. Copy has not been well-studied within the wild, however pets have produced 6-9 eggs in June and July.

Gravid females often turn into stressed and could refuse meals. They need to be eliminated to a big container (i.e. 5x the size and width of the turtle) provisioned with 6-Eight inches of barely moist soil and sand; please see article linked beneath). Gravid females that don’t nest ought to be seen by a veterinarian as egg retention invariably results in a deadly an infection generally known as egg peritonitis. It is very important word that females could develop eggs even when unmated, and that captives could produce a number of clutches every year.

The eggs could also be incubated in moist vermiculite at 82-86 F for 60-85 days. Please publish beneath for additional particulars regarding captive copy.


These shy turtles regulate nicely to captivity if offered correct situations, however they could not turn into as responsive as different map turtles. All turtles are able to administering highly effective bites and scratches when frightened, and should be dealt with with care.