Several species of map turtle used to be very popular in the pet trade and bred in captivity in the USA, but their popularity decreased after the enactment of the Four-Inch Regulation in 1975. Prior to the new regulation, thousands of map turtles were bred and hatched out in captivity for the U.S pet trade. You can read more about the Four-Inch Regulation further down of the page.
The most popular ones were the Sabine map turtle (Graptemys ouachitensis) and the False map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica) – including the subspecies Mississippi map turtle (Graptemys pseudogeographica kohni).
These species are the most popular pet map turtles today as well, but they are much more rare in the pet trade than before. Other examples of map turtles that are bred in captivity in the United States are Cagle’s map turtle (Graptemys caglei), Texas Map turtle (Graptemys versa) and the Black-knobbed map turtle (Graptemys nigrinoda). The more endagered species, are more rare seen and can only occasionally be found in the pet trade. The rarer species of map turtles are more comon in the European pet trade. This is due to the fact that there are more breeders breeding the species in captivity in Europe.
There are several drawbacks to map turtles as pets, such as being a challenge to care for in captivity when compared to some other turtles such as red eared sliders.
That being said, the common species are legal to own in most cases ( allways check your local laws before buying a turtle) and their colorful designs make them desirable to some potential pet owners. They make a great addition to an outdoor garden that has a large pond area, and also look rather exotic in an indoor tank.
While reptiles in general do not need close attention and affection like dogs or cats, they have been less domesticated and therefor have very specific health needs that must be met when kept in captivity.