How to Breed Map Turtles in Captivity?

How to Breed Map Turtles in Captivity

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

Breeding of any map turtle species is an easy and yet a tricky task. Most of the turtle owners desire to breed their map turtles but fail due to their lack of experience and knowledge. If you are having trouble breeding your map turtle, then I have the perfect guide for you. 

Breeding of a map turtle can be hard in an indoor habitat. So you have to move the breeding pair to an outdoor enclosure if possible. Again, you have to provide intensive care to the couple before and after the mating process. 

In this article, I will guide you on how to breed map turtles in captivity. If you follow the instructions, you will be able to complete the process, even if you are a beginner. So let’s jump to the main topic. 

Why Breeding Map Turtles in Captivity is Important?

Many people ask me why I recommend breeding map turtles in captivity when you can buy one from the shop. I reply, why not? Breeding your map turtle species in captivity will give you some advantages: 

  1. The pet will get used to the captive environment easily.
  2. The map turtle will be a better pet as it is used to human contacts.
  3. The pet’s wild instinct will be less than a wild map turtle.
  4. The captive breed will lessen the negative impact on the wild map turtle population. 

Things to Know Before Breeding Map Turtles

If you ever want to breed your pet map turtles in captivity, there are certain things you should know first. For instance, breeding of map turtles in captivity is not east at all. So I always suggest putting the breeding pair in an outdoor habitat if you can afford it. 

Also, there are some other things you should know: 

  1. The gender of the map turtle
  2. The age of the map turtle
  3. The health status of the map turtle
  4. The ideal male-female ratio for breeding

If you know all the four things, choosing the perfect couple will be easier for you. And also, the success rate of breeding will increase. 

Determine the Gender of a Map Turtle

Knowing the gender of your map turtle is essential. If you put two random map turtle for breeding, without knowing the gender, it won’t help. 

Determining the gender of a map turtle is real easy. The map turtles exhibit sex dimorphism, which means you can determine their gender by observing their body size and characteristics. For example, female map turtles are always larger than the male map turtles. If you want to know more about how to determine a map turtle’s gender, click here

Age of the Map Turtle

You can not put sexually immature map turtles for breeding. A study shows that most of the male map turtles gain their sexual maturity at the age of 4 to 6. For the female ones, maturity comes between the ages of 10 to 14 years. You can determine the age of the map turtle by following the ring method. 

The Health of the Map Turtle

The mating process in captivity can be a depressing and anxious process for the map turtles. That is why the owners need to make sure the pets are mentally and physically healthy. And also, they are ready to participate in the breeding. But how will you decide they are okay or not? 

If you are planning to put your map turtles in a mating process, you have to prepare them for months. There are the things you can do to make them fit for copulation:

  • Feed the map turtle a balanced diet.
  • Do regular health check-ups.
  • Ensure that the enclosure’s environment is suitable for the pet so that it does not feel mentally and physically sick.

Also, consult a vet before selecting a map turtle for the breeding process. 

The Ideal Male-female Ratio for Breeding

We know that male map turtles are sexually more active than female ones. When the mating season arrives, they start looking for a mate, and often they become aggressive towards their partners. So, the female map turtle can suffer from physical conditions because of all of these. And that is why specialists suggest maintaining an ideal male-female ratio for breeding.

What is the ideal ratio? Why is it necessary, and how does it help us? Well, the perfect ratio for the breeding of the map turtles is 2:5. It means you have to provide 5 female map turtles for each 2 male map turtles. 

Maintaining the ideal ratio will reduce the pressure on the female map turtle, and also it will increase the success rate of the breeding. So, following the ratio can be beneficial.

Breeding of the Map Turtles

If you want your pet turtle to lay eggs, you have to make the breeding process perfect, which is indeed a tough job. Here, I am giving some short notes on the breeding of a map turtle that will help you to enhance the success rate.

Find a Good Pair for Breeding

Successful breeding depends on the participators in many ways. While choosing the perfect map turtles, keep the following advice in mind: 

  • You will need a male and female map turtle to make the breeding perfect. 
  • Make sure the couple is healthy, both physically and mentally. 
  • Also, never do cross-breeding between mother-son, sister-brother, or daughter-father. This can lead to physical incapabilities of the baby turtles.
  • Sexually immature map turtles can not take part in the mating process. So make sure that the breeding pair is sexually mature. 
  • An ideal ratio while breeding map turtles is always suggested. Try to provide more female map turtles in number. 

The Pre-mating Season for the Map Turtles

We always recommend raising male and female map turtles in separate tanks. If the couple map turtles are not in a single enclosure, then you have to induce breeding behavior into them. But how? You can do it by simply putting them in hibernation or cooling off process. 

A study supports that the map turtles desire for sexual activities after the hibernation period. A 60 to 90 days hibernation period will create a perfect situation for breeding. 

When the hibernation period is over, you have to put the map turtles back into the natural environment for a few days. The temperature of the enclosure should be around 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Feed the Map Turtle

You can not put your map turtles into the mating process right after the hibernation. It is because the turtles do not eat or drink during hibernation, so the pet needs to regain its strength. So, you have to provide a balanced diet to the pet. Make sure the map turtle is getting enough calcium, vitamin D3, and other minerals.

Click here to get an excellent idea of a map turtle’s balanced diet. 

Provide the Perfect Environment

You have to place the male and female map turtles in the same enclosure for a few days for the mating process. And you can not remove them from the pen during that time. So, you have to create a perfect environment for them where they can meet all their usual needs.

The Mating Season for the Map Turtles

Map turtles mate twice a year. Their mating seasons are April and October to November. Generally, the male map turtle makes the first move towards the female one. It starts sniffing the female map turtle’s face and does head-bobbing or flutters fore-claw to entice her. 

Eventually, the female map turtle approves the appeal and let the male one mount over her. After successful mating, the female map turtle will show signs of carrying eggs within 2 to 3 weeks. You have to separate the breeding pair after the copulation. Put the female map turtle in the enclosure with a nesting area.

Nesting Area for Map Turtles

How to Make a Nesting Box for Turtles

I have mentioned earlier that you have to put your female map turtle in a separate enclosure that has a nesting area immediately after copulation. Why do we need to do that? What advantages will we get? And most importantly, what is a nesting area? 

We all know that map turtle is a semi-aquatic species. Like all other turtle species, map turtle does not lay its eggs in the water. The gravid map turtle comes to the shore, dig a hole, lay her eggs, cover the hole with dirt and leaves the place forever. 

The mother turtle is very selective when it comes to selecting the place for laying eggs. If the soil is not suitable, the turtle will not put her eggs there. That is why we use the nesting area in captivity to provide an appropriate environment for the gravid map turtle. 

Making a nesting area is not difficult at all. You have to provide a space of loamy, damp sandy soil about 12 to 14 inches deep beside the water area. The gravid map turtle will come out of the water and choose a suitable spot for her before laying eggs. 

Generally, the mother map turtle uses her hind claws to dig a deep hole. After laying eggs inside the hole, it will cover the area with dirt and mud.

Nesting Season

The nesting season for a map turtle takes place from late May to mid-July. To check that if your map turtle is gravid or not, you have to gently insert a finger between the carapace and plastron from behind. If you feel several lumps, then the map turtle is gravid.

You can do the same thing to check if the turtle has laid its eggs or not. In that case, you will not feel any lumps, and the section will feel considerably tighter. 

Generally, a map turtle lays eggs in clutches. Each clutch contains 12-20 eggs, and a map turtle lays 2 to 3 clutches a year. Follow this link if you do not know how to take care of the map turtle eggs and hatchlings. 


Knowing the right process for breeding your map turtle is very important. This knowledge will help you to take great care of the pets. Though it requires experience to conduct successful breeding, in this article, I have illustrated everything you need to know to breed your map turtles.

I hope the information will help you in your future turtle breeding projects. 

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.


This site is owned and operated by Muntaseer Rahman. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This site also participates in other affiliate programs and is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.