Texas Map Turtle: Ultimate Guide

The Texas Map turtle is a cute little thing, not only is it friendly and sociable, but it is easy to maintain, allowing you to keep it in an indoor or outdoor enclosure. This turtle likes to feast on greens as well and insects. It also has a much smaller roaming area, so you won’t have to worry about a large enclosure.

These turtles like to swim, diving down deep into the water to catch fish and other aquarium animals that like to dwell in the bottom of river beds. You’ll have to make sure that you have enough water in your pen to keep this creature happy.

This turtle has a very distinctive look, with a light orange shell that is designed to make it blend in with the sandy waters that you can find along the river bed. The head of this creature is very distinctive, with the female being a lot bigger than the male.

But where can you pick up a Texas Map turtle for your pen? What do they feed on? How well do they behave with other turtles? How long can you expect these to live? What is the growth rate of this breed of turtle? How endangered are these animals? How much can you be expected to pay for one?

Well, if you want answers to all of these questions and more, then we would suggest that you keep reading. We’ll give you everything that you need to know about this turtle, from its feeding habits to how it has evolved over millions of years. After reading this, you should get a better idea of whether or not this is suitable for your enclosure.

Male Vs. Female

The males generally have more pointed tails than the females. As they get older, the females will develop larger heads than the males, and are roughly bigger than the males.

The male turtles can be more aggressive around mating season, so make sure that if you have a few in the same terrarium, that you keep them separate from each other.


This turtle has an olive carapace that has developed to blend in with the background of its habitat. It has very few markings on its body, but it has a tapered head that you can use to distinguish it from other breeds of turtle.

This turtle has red and orange blemishes on its head, which often are a classic marker of this Texas Map Turtle. The vertebrate keel has a prominent yellow coloring on the upside that is often used to ward off predators.

As a Pet

Of all the smaller box turtles, this breed is probably amongst the most friendly. We would recommend that you get a heat lamp for basking. Make sure that you have a filtration system that you can use to keep the water in the enclosure clean.

We would recommend that you have at least 4-inches of water for this turtle to paddle in. Genetically it releases a lot of moisture from its skin, which is why it needs plenty of moisture in the surrounding areas to keep it cool.


In captivity, this turtle can live from 15 to 20 years, although some turtles have been recorded as living longer. You should make sure that your turtle gets regular trips to the vets to make sure that it has all the shots that it needs and does not develop liver and kidney disease.


This turtle has developed a side-eyed vision to help it detect predators in a wider area. The males have longer and more dense tails to help them attract females as well as navigate the deeper waters.

This has also adapted the hardened shell that it can retreat into if it ever finds itself cornered by predators. The female turtles have longer claws that will help them to defend their eggs from predators.

Breeding Season

As with most turtles of this type, this animal will want to breed during the beginning of spring, which is around March and late April. The males will often be ready to mate first, and they reach sexual maturity at a much younger age.

During this breeding season, you’ll have to make sure that you have enough space so that the turtles can avoid each other. Males and females both tend to get very aggressive during this time, so make sure that you separate them.


This turtle will lay a few clutches of around 2-11 eggs during its lifetime. These are then left to gestate. Depending on the temperature, these turtles will either turn out all male or all female. Some females have been known to devour these eggs in the wild when food is scarce.

Growth Rate

This animal will grow very quickly, the females developing a carapace that is 5-8 inches long. The males are a lot smaller, usually only reaching around 2.5 inches. The male will reach full maturity way before the female, which takes most of its life before being ready to mate.

Life Cycle

This turtle will live for around 15-20 years in captivity. Some turtles have been known to live much longer than this, but only if they are taken care of properly. We would recommend that you regularly clean your enclosure and give the turtle a wide variety of food to increase its lifespan.

This creature has a much shorter lifespan in the wild because it is exposed to predators. You should be sure to put some strong netting over your enclosure to prevent these turtles from falling prey to seagulls and other birds that might want it for food.


Due to environmental habitat destruction, these turtles have dwindled in numbers over the past few years. The pet trade has also contributed to the overall decline of these animals. These turtles have a national protected status, which has led to a gradual increase in numbers over the years.

There are rumored to be around 10,000 of these turtles currently active in the wild, with over double these in captivity.


These turtles have been known to ingest wild vegetation, as well as small mollusks and fish that swim in the bottom of the river. This turtle has a very sharp and pointed head that allows it to catch insects out of mid-air. However, this turtle does prefer to wait for the insects to drop dead into the river before eating them.


This turtle is prey to a lot of birds that line the riverbank, which is its natural habitat in the wild. It is also frequently attacked by larger reptiles such as alligators that regard it as a light snack, able to crunch through the shell with its jaws very easily.

If you are keeping this turtle indoors, then we would recommend that you have a wire mesh net over the top to prevent birds from trying to eat it.

Roaming Range

This turtle inhabits the small limestone enclaves of the riverbed and will probably move no more than 1.5 km over a month. If you are keeping this one in an enclosure, we would recommend that you have at least 6 feet square of space for this turtle to roam around.


This turtle is very prone to parasites when out in the wild. This is why some people theorize that it basks on rocks so that it can rid itself of these mites that burrow under the skin.

If left untreated, these parasites can cause painful lesions.

Eye Color

The most distinctive characteristic of this animal is that it has a J-shaped mark that sits directly behind the eye. The turtles usually have brown or reddish eyes.


These turtles do not hibernate in the same way as mammals do, but they do tend to retreat into their burrows when the temperature gets cooler. This is probably because their heart rate drops and they need to conserve more energy. This is also because there is very little prey around.

Can They Swim?

These turtles can certainly swim and are happy to do so to get food and to chase down a mate. You should make sure that your enclosure has plenty of water that your turtle can splash around in. We recommend having at least around 4-inches of water in your enclosure.

Care Costs

This turtle will cost you only $60-$120 to buy from the store, although these turtles are often rare to come by. We would recommend that you have enough in your budget to feed this turtle every month.

Fun Facts

  • These turtles are extremely shy, which makes it very hard to observe their behavior in the wild.