Do Mississippi Map Turtles Bite?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Before buying a turtle, we should do some research on its behavior. It is applicable for all the pets. Take your Mississippi map turtle as an example. It is a friendly species, but sometimes the pet shows aggressive behavior.

So does a Mississippi map turtle bite in aggression? It surely does. A Mississippi map turtle can bite when it is stressed, anxious, or scared.

I am sure many questions are storming in your head right now. I will answer them all. In this article, I will discuss how and why a Mississippi map turtle might bite you, and what you should do about it. Let’s explore.

How Does A Mississippi Map Turtle Bite?

I am sure you are wondering how a Mississippi map turtle can bite. It is a common question because like other turtles, Mississippi map turtles do not have teeth.

According to UCSB Science Line, Mississippi map turtles do not have any teeth. Instead of teeth, the species have horny beaks. The beaks are similar to the birds. Mississippi map turtles use the sharp beaks to bite.

A Mississippi map turtle may bite another turtle, animal, or the owner with its beak. The species use the sharp beaks not only for attacking or biting, but they also tend to prey with it.

Why Does A Mississippi Map Turtle Bite?

Mississippi map turtles are friendly creatures. They are ideal as pets. But they can bite each other or the owner if they are scared or feel insecure. But why do they bite?

Here are the reasons why this friendly pet bite you,

  1. Each animal has its own defense mechanism. Mississippi map turtles defend themselves from a dangerous situation by biting the attacker. Even it does not have to be a real attack. If the pet thinks he is unsafe, he will bite the person.
  2. Mississippi map turtles hate crowd. If your guests come into your house, and they disturb the pet, it will bite.
  3. The shell of a turtle is for its self-protection. If it senses any danger or stress, it settles inside the shell. When you try to force the Mississippi map turtle to come outside its shell, it will bite.
  4. While moving a Mississippi map turtle from one place to another, the map turtle may feel stressed. It may bite the person out of insecurity and anxiety.
  5. When you pick your Mississippi map turtle up from the ground, it can cause panic to the pet. As a reflex action, the turtle can bite the person.
  6. If a Mississippi map turtle goes into its shell, it means the pet wants to spend some time alone. You will get a bite in case you push your finger inside the shell and disturb the pet.
  7. While feeding the Mississippi map turtle, if you hold the food in front of its face instead of dropping it, there is a high possibility of getting bitten.
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The Reasons Why Mississippi Map Turtles Bite One Another

You will often observe your Mississippi map turtles biting each other. This type of fight is often seen among the hatchlings and between the adult male map turtles. 

The hatchlings fight with each other because of food. Even though you provide them a sufficient amount of food, they tend to bite each other over this. Well, there is no logical answer to why they do that. But maybe it’s the first survival lesson for them.

The adult male to male map turtle fights often become worse. They fight over food and mate. Even if you provide enough food to them, they will bite each other. When it comes to mate, if there are fewer female mates, they will start fighting over this too. 

Mississippi Map Turtle’s Bite Dangerous Or Not

Most of the time, the Mississippi map turtle’s bite is not dangerous. The species does not carry any toxic or harmful element in its saliva.

Again, sometimes the Mississippi map turtles may get infected by Salmonella bacteria. The bacteria can live inside its mouth too. So, if an infected map turtle bites you, you will probably feel a bellyache at most.

So, do not freak out if a Mississippi map turtle bites you. No matter how worse the condition is, it is not dangerous and curable.

How Does A Mississippi Map Turtle Bite Feel?

I can assure you it is not the most pleasant feeling. The pain depends on the area you got bitten and the force the map turtle has applied. The bite may give you some bruises, but the wound will heal with time.

  • If the Mississippi map turtle bites you on your finger, it will feel more than a soft pinch.
  • If the turtle bites you on your toe, it will hurt a lot. It is the type of pain you feel when the toe gets hit by something.
  • The Mississippi map turtle can bite on your forearm too. This will hurt like a simple cut on the flesh.
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So, the Mississippi map turtle’s bite feels like a cut, and it hurts more than a pinch. The wound may bleed for some time, or it may leave a few spots.

What To Do After Getting Bitten By A Mississippi Map Turtle

If you have a baby or adult Mississippi map turtle, you can get a bite from them very often. So, you should know what to do in that situation.

For a small and harmless wound,

  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean the wounded area with a disinfectant.
  • Do not disturb the turtle. If a Mississippi map turtle bites you, it is because the pet is stressed. So leave the pet for some time.

For a deep and dangerous wound, 

  • If you notice any blood, the bite is deep. You have to wash the place first.
  • Disinfect the wound with sanitizer.
  • Visit a doctor for further suggestions.

What Not To Do After Getting Bitten By A Mississippi Map Turtle

You have learned what to do if a Mississippi map turtle bites you. Let’s see what you should not do.

  1. Most of the time, the pet does not want to let go of the finger or toe. Wait for it to spare your finger. Do not force the turtle to let go from biting. Pulling or forcing the pet will make it more stressed, and that will cause a lot more damage.
  2. Do not touch anything with your hands after getting bitten by a Mississippi map turtle. 
  3. Do not eat anything with hands, or do not put your hand inside the mouth. The turtle sometimes carries germs, bacteria, or other germs.
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How Can You Avoid A Mississippi Map Turtle’s Bite?

There is no way you can avoid a turtle’s bite, but you can take some precautions to reduce the chance.

  1. Drop the food inside the enclosure instead of feeding it with bare hands.
  2. If you are playing with your turtle on the ground, do not wear slippers.
  3. A hungry turtle bites a lot. So, provide the pet with a sufficient amount of food.
  4. Never annoy your Mississippi map turtle. It can bite if it gets annoyed. A turtle’s nature is quite unpredictable.
  5. If you think the Mississippi map turtle is stressed, leave the pet alone for some time.
  6. You have to handle the pet with care. If the pet feels anxiety, it will bite you.

How To Keep Your Mississippi Map Turtles Away From Biting Each Other

It is hard to keep you map turtles away from the fighting. But you can apply some tricks to reduce the chance of a fight.

  1. If you are housing more than one Mississippi map turtle, provide them a large enclosure. When several turtles live in a small place, they tend to bite each other for space. 
  2. Make sure the temperature of the tank is comfortable with the turtles. A light change in the temperature makes the turtles anxious. So they start biting each other.
  3. Keep the enclosure in a noise-free and calm place. The Mississippi map turtles get stressed with sound pollution. They can start a fight under stress.
  4. Mississippi map turtles can fight over food too. So give them enough food to eat.
  5. During the mating process, follow the ideal male-female ratio. If not, then the adult male Mississippi map turtles will start biting each other for a female partner.


I think, as a responsible turtle owner, you should know the worst situation that can happen to you for your pet turtle. Biting is a natural behavior of a Mississippi map turtle. In this article, I have discussed everything you need to know. I hope the information will help you.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.


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