You will need to have a large aquarium tank or a large outdoor pond if you want to keep a map turtle as a pet. They need lots or room to swim around with plenty of places to hide underwater.
Remember that they are freshwater animals, not saltwater.
You will also need areas on top of their body of water that they can climb onto, such as logs or mounds made of rock or dirt. Map turtles like to come out of the water sometimes and bask in the sun. Reptiles cannot regulate their own body heat so access to an external heat source is crucial. If your map turtle is being kept in a tank, you can have a heat lamp set up above their basking areas.
If you keep your map turtle outside, a heat lamp map can still be used and may even be necessary depending on where you live. If you live in an area where it gets too cold at certain points of the year, an outdoor pond may not be the best choice for your map turtle.
A good rule of thumb to determine if an outdoor pond is an option is to research the species of map turtle you own, and see if any live in the wild in your area. If they do live in the wild in your area, then an outdoor pond may have temperatures that are naturally hospitable to them. It is however important to remember that a small pond will get colder in the winter and hotter in the summer than a larger body of water so your pond is not necessarily a good map turtle habitat even if they live in your area.
In addition to the logs or rocks on the water’s surface that they can climb on, the map turtles will also want some accessories to go below the water’s surface. When map turtles go underwater, they sometimes like to seek out things like logs, thick plants, and mud to hide in. You should have lots of cozy little hiding places that your map turtle can use. Make sure that they can no get stuck in the hiding places. If they get stuck they might drown.
For tanks, it is recommended that you use a suitable sized filter to help keep their water clean. If you have them outdoors, keeping their water fresh can be a bit more difficult, and but using the right size pond filter can really help. It is, for this reason, recommended that you do not skimp on size of their pond. Not only do map turtles need lots of space to feel free and healthy, but smaller bodies of water are also much faster to get dirty and health-hazardous. A larger body of water will have an easier time staying fresh. A larger body of water will also, as earlier mentioned, maintain its temperature better.
Having aquatic plants planted into your outdoor pond can help oxygenate the water and keep the environment healthy for your pets. Good examples include water lettuce and duckweed.
How large your tank or pond should be depends on how many map turtles you want to keep and what species of map turtles you want to keep. They are not particularly aggressive animals and are social enough that you can keep them together. However, there can be exceptions to this if there is not enough space and food to go around.