How Long Do Map Turtles Live In Captivity?

How Long Do Map Turtles Live In Captivity

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

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We map turtle keepers, always try to replicate the wild environment inside the enclosure to make it comfortable for the pet. After doing so, there still remain some differences between a captive and a wild turtle. For example, the lifespan of a captive map turtle is more than a wild one.

The map turtles can live from 15 to 100 years in captivity. One or two species of map turtle live up to 5.5 years at best in captivity.

As a map turtle owner, you should know about the lifespan of your pet. In this article, I will discuss the lifespan of different species of map turtle, what factors affect the map turtle’s life expectancy, and how you can ensure a healthy life to your map turtle.

The Lifespan Of Map Turtles In Captivity

In this section, I am adding the expected lifespan of a map turtle in captivity. Remember one thing, this is the expected lifespan. You map turtle can live more or less year depending on the care you are providing.

The Lifespan Of Different Map Turtle Species In Captivity

Species of map turtleLifespan in captivity
Barbour’s Map Turtle31-32 years
Cagle’s Map Turtle14.5 Years
Escambia Map Turtle15 years
Texas Map Turtle30-40 years
Northern Map turtle5.5 years
Pascagoula Map Turtle50 years
Black Knobbed Map Turtle20.3 years
Ringed Map Turtle30-35 years
Ouachita Map Turtle30-50 years
Pearl River Map Turtle20-30 years
False Map Turtle32-35 years
Mississippi Map Turtle30-35 years
Alabama Map Turtles15-20 years

I have tried to collect as much data as I can. You may not find the lifespan of two or three map turtle species because there is no accurate data available. Though most species live up to 50 years, with proper care, some species can live around 100 years.

Difference Between The Lifespan Of A Wild And Captive Map Turtle

I have mentioned above that a captive map turtle enjoys a longer life than a wild one. It is almost accurate for all the species of the map turtle. Here I am adding a graph that shows the difference in life expectancy of a wild and captive map turtle.

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captive vs wild map turlte lifespan
Life expectancy difference between the wild and captive map turtle of different species of map turtle

Pet Turtle Lifespan & Size Chart

pet turtle lifespan and size

If you want to get a printable version of this amazing chart, click here!

What Affects The Lifespan Of A Map Turtle? 

You already know that a map turtle can live from 5 years to 100 years, depending on its species. But there are some other factors too that affect the lifespan of a map turtle. 

  1. Environment
  2. Diet
  3. Health

These three factors play a significant role in your map turtle’s life expectancy. How? Let me explain.


In the wild, map turtles live in the clear pond or lakes. So when it comes to the enclosure, we try our best to replicate the same environment. We can make the exact environment in captivity with loads of filtration and oxygenated water. Besides, using an outside filter and air stone can add extra oxygen and turbulence to the tank water.

Also, map turtles love basking from time to time. So, adding driftwood with the enclosure makes the habitat more preferable to the map turtles. You also have to set up external heating light and UV light for these little map turtles.

So, this is the ideal enclosure for a captive map turtle. If you fail to provide the pet one, it may affect the turtle’s mental and physical health. Again, if you can not maintain the hygiene of the enclosure, it will expose the map turtle to various diseases, which is terrible for its lifespan.


Like a human, a balanced diet is also necessary for the map turtles. Map turtles are omnivorous, which means it can eat both meat and plant based foods. But if you keep feeding it anything you find because the pet is voracious, it will have an adverse effect on the map turtle’s health and lifespan.

Let’s discuss the ideal food habit for a map turtle. A study says that the meal of a map turtle should contain both meat and plant based food items. It because the map turtle needs minerals and vitamins from both the types of food to maintain a healthy life. 

See also  How To Setup An Ideal Map Turtle Habitat?

Here is the list of the foods for a map turtle, 

  • Carrion
  • Insect larvae
  • Crayfish
  • Snails
  • Clams
  • Earthworms
  • Shrimp
  • Feeder fish
  • Small crabs
  • Bloodworms
  • Dead fish
  • Black worms
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Dandelion greens
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Parsley

So, these are the items that provide minerals and vitamins to the map turtle. If you fail to give the map turtle with a balanced diet, it will suffer from Vitamin deficiency or other diseases. The medical conditions can affect the life expectancy of the map turtle.


You may observe various health issues in your map turtle. It can happen because of a poor diet, an unhealthy environment, or for other reasons. If the medical conditions get severe, the map turtle can lose its life at an early age. So what are the most common medical conditions that affect a map turtle’s lifespan?

  1. Nutritional disease
  2. Infectious disease

3. Foreign bodies inside a map turtle

Nutritional Disease

Nutritional disease indicates two medical conditions. 

  1. Vitamin A deficiency 
  2. Softshell

Vitamin A deficiency occurs if the map turtle does not get enough Vitamin A from its diet. The map turtle will suffer from various eye diseases and respiratory conditions because of Vitamin A deficiency. The pet can go blind because of severe eye conditions, and it can die at an early age because of the respiratory disease. 

A soft shell is a dangerous condition for any pet. It occurs from the lack of Vitamin D3. If the food does not contain a sufficient amount of Vitamin D, you may observe that the shell of your pet is getting soft day by day. The condition gets worse if it is not treated immediately.

This medical condition can be a threat to the map turtle’s life. It can happen even after providing a balanced diet to the map turtle if the enclosure has a poor UV and heating light setup.

Infectious Disease

Map turtles often develop various infections of the shell, respiratory organ, and skin. The condition gets severe if the infection spreads throughout the body. Sometimes the blood gets infected too. 

When the infection reaches the bone, it creates other complex medical conditions. Allow me to draw some examples. 

  • A respiratory infection can develop into pneumonia, which is life-threatening for a map turtle.
  •  Am ear infection causes much pain to the map turtle and makes it physically weak.
  • Infection in the digestive system causes bloody diarrhoea, which reduces the lifespan of the map turtle.
  • Internal parasites can cause kidney or liver failure. And most of the map turtles can not survive a long time with that condition.
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Foreign Bodies Inside A Map Turtle

Map turtles are curious by nature. It can eat anything just out of curiosity. When the infested items are not food, then it is termed as foreign bodies. If the thing is small enough, it can pass through the map turtle’s digest system. But in the case of the large foreign bodies, it can get entrapped inside the turtle’s body.

The large foreign bodies can become an obstruction, and obstructions are life threatening. The map turtle may need surgery to overcome the situation. Sometimes the blockage is so bad that the vet can not perform any tests or surgery on the map turtle.

In worst cases, the map turtle dies within several days or weeks, or it can reduce its expected lifespan.

How To Ensure A Long Lifespan Of Your Pet Map Turtle?

The lifespan of a map turtle can vary from species to species. With proper care, you can make the map turtle live a healthy and long life. How will you do that?

  • The enclosure can affect in a map turtle’s lifespan. Try to provide a spacious and well decorated habitat to the pet. This will make the map turtle mentally and physically satisfied.
  • Clean the habitat regularly. Hygiene is the precondition for a healthy and long life.
  • Make sure the filtration system of the enclosure is providing an excellent service.
  • As food plays a significant role in a map turtle’s life expectance, offer a balanced diet to the map turtle.
  • You know that the low quality UV and heating lights expose the map turtles to severe medical conditions. So set up a high quality UV bulb.
  • Diseases are the worst for a map turtle. Try to save it from any disease. If you can not do that, take it to the vet as soon as you observe any abnormality. 


You need to know about the lifespan of your map turtle because it helps you to take care of the pet. In this article, I have explained everything related to a map turtle’s lifespan. I have also discussed how you can make your map turtle live a little longer.

Thank you for reading the whole article. I hope you guys have found the article helpful.

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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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