When placed together in the same habitat, some male turtles may become aggressive toward each other. Knowing whether you have male or female map turtles can solve this problem. It's also important to know the gender of your Mississippi map turtle if you are planning to breed it. Most aquatic turtles, including Mississippi map turtles, display the same gender differences. Whether you want to know your turtle's gender for an important reason, or you just want to know more about your new pet, there are several steps you can take.
Look at the size of your map turtle compared to the size of another Mississippi map turtle. If the turtles are the same age, or are both fully grown, you should be able to guess at the gender of the turtle. Male Mississippi map turtles grow from about 3 1/2 inches to about 5 inches long, measuring along the shell from the head to the tail. Females are almost always larger than the males. They grow from about 6 inches to about 10 inches. If you don't have another turtle to compare your turtle to, you can simply measure the turtle and make a guess.
Look at the turtle's tail. Compare the tail of the turtle to another turtle's tail, or to pictures of Mississippi map turtle tails. Male turtles' tails will look long, and will have a broad base. Female map turtles tails will be smaller -- both thinner and shorter. This is often the easiest way to determine the gender of Mississippi map turtles.
Examine the turtle's claws. Female Mississippi map turtles usually have smaller, shorter nails, or claws, on both their front feet. Male Mississippi map turtles usually have claws that look long or sharply pointed on their front feet.
Turn the Mississippi map turtle over and look at the underside of the tail. All turtles have a vent, through which both faeces, urine and eggs pass. It is called a cloaca. On male map turtles, they cloaca will be located closer the tip of the tail. Female map turtles have a cloaca closer to the base of the tail, or nearer to the body.
Examine the underside of the turtle. Some turtles have different-shaped plastrons, which are the undersides of the shells. Male turtles have concave, or indented plastrons. Females will have flatter-looking plastrons. This feature may be difficult to observe in map turtles, however.