The Common Map Turtle - Graptemys geographica - Common Map Turtles
The Graptemys geographica or the Common Map turtle is a medium sized turtle commonly found in Montana, Michigan, Wisconsin and other states of central and north eastern America. Isolated groups are also found in the western parts of America extending to Missouri and Arkansas. It is fond almost all over America and that is why the name ñCommon Map Turtleî. The carapace has contours and patterns like a map. The carapace is round and raised towards the center. The first few vertebrae develop into spikes or knobs. The spikes are more prominent in juveniles and almost vestigial in adults. The Common Map Turtles have shorter knobs than the Northern Black knobbed map turtles. The carapace is olive or dark brown with yellow, orange or tan patterns and coloration. The Graptemys geographica has an unhinged yellow plastron that has a distinctive dark patch in the middle that fades with age. The rest of the Common Map turtleÍs body is olive brown or black with greenish-yellow stripes. The male Common Map turtle are much smaller than the female. While the females reach 10 inches the males can only grow upto 6 inches. The males have narrow and blunt face and the females have broader face. The Common Map Turtle Habitat The Common Map turtle are endemic to fresh water rivers, ponds and lakes. They can be spotted in large and deep water bodies with plenty of fallen trees that can be used for basking. They are efficient swimmers and prefer rivers with swift current and great depth. The Graptemys geographica hibernates through winter and is very active during the warmer part of the year. Like most map turtles the Common Map turtle is very shy and slide into water at the slightest hint of danger. In captivity a simulation of their natural habitat is recommended. For a full grown male Common Map Turtle a 55 gallon water tank is recommended and for an adult female use a 90 gallon water tank. The Graptemys geographica is highly aquatic and should have plenty of space to swim around. Larger volume also ensures better filtration and water flow. A substrate of sand and gravels should be layered at the bottom. The Common map turtle are very shy and need hiding places in the aquarium. Use plenty of artificial or natural plants and underwater fixture to give them a sense of security. The Graptemys geographicaare heavy baskers and need a warm basking area in the aquarium. In their natural habitat they bask on fallen trees and logs. You can use a similar setting in your water tank with a UVB light and a heating lamp placed right over the basking area. The recommended basking temperature is 85-95 degree Fahrenheit but you can keep it a little warmer. The ideal water temperature of 75 degree Fahrenheit should be maintained throughout the year, particularly during winters. The Common Map Turtle Diet The Common Map Turtles are omnivores with more inclination towards flesh and meat. They are fond of mollusks, crayfish and insects. The juveniles need high protein diet and the adults would need additional calcium and vitamin supplements with their food.