What to Feed Mississippi Map Turtles

Written by damien campbell
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What to Feed Mississippi Map Turtles
(Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

The Mississippi map turtle (Graptemys kohnii) is a common aquatic turtle found in the Mississippi river drainage basin. Map turtles are distinguished from other aquatic turtles by a pronounced ridge of keeled scales along the top of the shell. Mississippi map turtles are generalist feeders and will eat nearly anything that they can catch in the wild. The omnivorous nature of Mississippi map turtles makes it easy to provide a healthy diet in captivity.

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Live Foods

Mississippi map turtles will readily feed on a variety of live foods in captivity. Crickets, mealworms and bloodworms are all easy to care for and healthy sources of protein for map turtles. Adding live feeder fish, such as minnows, periodically is a nutritious treat that helps keep your turtle in shape as well since it has to swim and exercise to catch the fish. Always monitor your turtle's feeding behaviour to ensure that each food item offered is consumed. Dead and decaying food left in the tank causes water quality to decline and increases the chances of disease infecting your turtle, according to Petco.


Map turtles require a diverse and balanced diet in captivity and providing vegetable matter is important to maintain their health. Juvenile Mississippi map turtles will often eat more vegetable matter than adults, as map turtles grow more carnivorous with age. However, dark leafy greens such as kale and collard greens can be left to float in the aquarium with the turtle to supplement the diet. Some map turtles may eat squash or carrots as well. Always remove uneaten food items after the turtle has finished feeding to keep the water clean.

Frozen Foods

Frozen fish, chicken and liver are a convenient food source for Mississippi map turtles. Thawed and finely chopped frozen foods can be fed in pieces on occasion but should not comprise the majority of their diet, according to the University of North Carolina. Map turtles are sloppy feeders and residual portions of fish may remain in the tank, so it is best to feed frozen fish when you are planning to change the water in the turtle aquarium.

Vitamin Supplements

Map turtles require supplemental calcium and vitamin D3 to maintain a strong and healthy shell. Dusting a reptile vitamin powder supplement on live foods before feeding once a week is a good way to prevent many common diseases and malformation in map turtles and facilitate healthy growth in captivity.

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