Map Turtle vs. Painted Turtle: Which One Is Better As Pet?

Map Turtle vs. Painted Turtle

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

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If you are reading this article, I assume you are a beginner, or you are struggling to choose the right pet turtle between the map turtle and the painted turtle species. Well, it is okay to worry because both the species are pleasant as pets. So, which one is a better pet? A map turtle or a painted turtle?

There is no direct answer to this question. The answer will depend on your ability and preferences.

In this article, I will discuss different sides of map turtle and painted turtle and compare both the species. Then I will explain which turtle is better for you depending on some factors. By the end of the article, you will get your answer.

Criteria For A Better Pet Turtle

When it comes to choosing a better turtle as a pet, we generally depend on some factors. Those factors are,

  1. Cost
  2. Species
  3. Availability
  4. Housing
  5. Care
  6. Behavior
  7. Lifespan

We often buy the species which are more compatible with our preferences. These factors help us set the bar of our choices and let us make a quick decision. 

So, in the upcoming section, I will compare the map turtle and the painted turtle on these factors. Read carefully and see which species go with your capabilities. 

Comparison of Cost

Price is one of the most crucial factors you should consider before buying your pet turtle. If the species is out of your budget or will take more money to maintain, then do not buy that species.

The average price of a map turtle:

The cost of a map turtle can be as low as $6, and it can go up to $2000. The average rate of a map turtle is around $25-$30. The pricing depends on the species, size, and age of the map turtle.

The average price of a painted turtle:

The cost of a painted turtle can be as low as $10, and it can go up to $300 or more. You will get a painted turtle around $25-$50. The market rate depends on the species, size, and age of the painted turtle.

Choice of Species

We know that each turtle species has various species or subspecies. The more the variation, the more choice we will have. The map turtle has more species or subspecies under its name than the painted turtle. 

Map turtle:

Map turtle has almost 14 different species, and most of them are ideal pets. Those species are,

  1. False map turtle
  2. Cagle’s map turtle
  3. Black Knobbed map turtle
  4. Ringed map turtle
  5. Yellow Blotched map turtle
  6. Alabama map turtle
  7. Texas map turtle
  8. Barbour’s map turtle
  9. Escambia map turtle
  10. Pascagoula map turtle
  11. Northern map turtle
  12. Ouachita map turtle
  13. Mississippi map turtle
  14. Sabine map turtle

Painted map turtle:

Painted map turtle has 4 major species. Those species are, 

  1. Eastern painted turtle
  2. Western painted turtle
  3. Southern painted turtle
  4. Midland painted turtle

Comparison of Availability

It gives you a massive advantage if you choose a native turtle species as a pet. In that way, the pet will get adapted to the captive environment quickly.

Map turtle:

Map turtles are easy to find. It lives around us in the ponds, rivers, or lakes. But some of its species are hard to find.

Painted turtle:

Painted turtle also lives in the freshwater. You can find this little species around the lakes and rivers.

Map turtle and painted turtle both are available in the United States. And to be honest, the Painted turtle has gained more popularity than the map turtle.

Housing Requirements

If you can not afford the enclosure space for your pet turtle, it will not be the right pet for you. That is why housing is essential to consider.

Map turtle:

This species has some unique needs in their enclosure. You have to replicate the wild environment inside the captive area. And for that, you would need additional filtration and oxygenated sources.

A 20-gallon tank is suitable for one or two baby map turtles. Besides, they need a basking dock, UV light source, and additional heating sources inside the enclosure.

Painted turtle:

A painted turtle needs a 20-gallon to 25-gallon volume enclosure. The water has to be fresh and hygienic.

There must be an external heating source and a UV source for the betterment of the turtle. And you also have to build a basking dock for it.

As both the species are semi-aquatic, their needs are similar.

Care Needs

Some species need more care and attention than others. Those species can be tough to maintain. So, before taking any species, you have to consider its care level and how much you can get involved.

When it comes to the map turtle and the painted turtle, both the species are care intensive. If the water is filthy or the temperature is not perfect, they will fall sick. The species that require minimum care is better as pets.

Behavior Comparison

Map turtle:

Map turtle is a bit aggressive in nature. It can bite you more often. The species is challenging to handle because of its anxious behavior.

Painted turtle:

Painted turtles are very friendly. They don’t bite unless they feel a lot of stress. This turtle can get adapted to the environment quickly.

Lifespan of Map turtle vs. Painted turtle

We all know that some turtles can live up to 100 years. Lifespan plays a significant role while choosing the right pet turtle. If your preferable species can live up to 50 years, and you are not ready for that long, then it is better not to adopt that species.

Map turtle:

The minimum lifespan of a map turtle is 5 years. And some map turtle species can live up to 70 years. You must look at the lifespan chart before buying the turtle.

Painted turtle:

The average lifespan of a painted turtle is 25 to 30 years. And with great care, they can live up to 50 years.

I have discussed all the factors that will help you choose between a map turtle and a painted turtle. Now consider each element and see what your preferences are. If you are more compatible with the painted turtle, then go for it. If not, then buy a map turtle.

I often find people who ask me which turtle species is best as a pet. To be honest, it depends on you. There is a saying about choosing a pet:

“What is best for others can be worst for you.”

So, always go with your ability and commitment level.


The painted turtle and the map turtle, both are popular as pets. Throughout the article, I have tried to make your decision easier. I hope the article has helped you to come to a conclusion.

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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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