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Cagle’s Map Turtle Facts

The Cagle’s map turtle is among the smallest map turtle with some males growing to only 2.5 inches in size.

Little might be known about this turtle whose binomial name is Graptemys caglei. But like other map turtles, these reptiles are sun lovers.

They are more active in the day. You can spot them basking in the streams and river systems of Texas.

Read below to learn many more things about Cagle’s map turtles.

Cagle’s map turtle facts

Cagles Map Turtle
Cagle’s Map turtle perched up on a rock in enclosure
  • Scientific Name: Graptemys caglei
  • Family: Emydidae
  • Size: Adult males at 12.6 cm. max and adult females at 21.3 cm. max in carapace length.
  • Weight: Average weight at 1,233 grams
  • Diet: Omnivore (mollusks for adult females, insects for males, juveniles, and hatchlings)
  • Lifespan: 14.5 years
  • Book(s): The Map Turtle and Sawback Atlas: Ecology, Evolution, Distribution, and Conservation by Peter V Lindeman & Anders G. J. Rhodin
  • The species take their name from Fred R. Cagel, who is a testudinologist at Tulane University.
  • The Cagle’s map turtle is one of the smallest kinds of map turtles.
  • It is one of 12 North American species of map turtles.
  • Adult males can be as small as 2.5 inches.
  • Adult females always grow larger than male ones. The smallest adult females are 4 inches.
  • Like other map turtles, they are diurnals.
  • They spend a good amount of their time basking on rocks and logs.
  • They are excellent swimmers, and captive pets can handle a deep tank.
  • Females seem to take a liking to eating clams.
  • IUCN has listed the species as Globally Endangered in 2010. NatureServe lists it as Globally Vulnerable as of 2007.
  • Some states in Texas do not allow the ownership, hunting, and trade of Cagle’s map turtles.
  • The population is decreasing.

What does the Cagle’s map turtle look like?

Graptemys caglei is a small to medium-sized map turtle. Females can grow twice as large as male ones.

The carapace is usually green, but it is not unusual to see brown shades with yellow contour marks.

You can identify a Cagle’s map turtle with its distinct V-shaped marking on the top of its head. This mark forms a crescent around its eyes.

You may also see a bold stripe that runs from the nose back to the V mark. The chin and its throat have several stripes.

The plastron is cream and has dark shades along the seams. Cagle’s map turtles have dark green skin with white to cream markings.

Males have a narrow head but wide and long tails.

Females would have shorter and narrower tails. Their heads are larger, and they have a bulky build.

Where can the Cagle’s map turtle be found?

The species is found in the United States, specifically, around the waterways of Texas (Guadalupe rivers and San Antonio drainage systems).

You can also spot them along the long stretch of the Mississippi River and river basin.

What kind of habitat do the Cagle’s map turtles live in?

The Graptemys caglei favors muddy streams, lakes, and rivers. They like the environment of the Guadalupe rivers, where currents go from moderate to rapid.

They are at home in a habitat of limestone, silt, or sandy riverbeds. They make a home in surroundings that are open and get good sun.

What does the Cagle’s map turtle eat?

Juveniles, hatchlings, and adult Cagle’s map turtles eat insects, while the female adults eat mollusks.

Both also eat vegetation like algae, grass, or even bark.

In captivity, these pets are not fussy eaters. You can give them crickets, worms, or cichlid sticks.

You can also offer them your leafy veggies at home and if you want you can go the commercial food route with Tetra Reptomin floating food sticks for options.

How long does the Cagle’s map turtle live?

The longest life spans recorded show that captive males can live for 14 years and beyond.

In the wild, the species is endangered. Their life span is greatly affected by habitat destruction. Since 1974, the range experienced a size reduction of between 1/2 to 2/3.

How many eggs does the Cagle’s map turtle lay?

More data is needed, but researchers estimate nesting females to lay a maximum of 3 clutches each year.

One clutch would have from one to six eggs in it. Nesting takes place from the middle of May up to the middle of July.

Unlike Alabama map turtles, Cagle’s map turtles bury their nests and are careful to hide their eggs from predators such as raccoons.

What predators does the Cagle’s map turtle have?

These map turtles are vulnerable to human disturbance. Their habitats are subject to destruction through reservoir constructions and human interference.

Some people hunt them for the pleasure of the kill. Others collect them for personal possession or commercial trade.

Water pollution also contributes to a decrease in their numbers.

These make a good pet choice for beginners. If you’re still deciding on what type, have a look at our best pet turtle guide for an overview of the top ones. Alternatively if you want a broader search look at the turtle species page for even more types.

It is legal to own Cagle’s map turtles in select parts of the United States, but it is illegal to hunt, collect, or hunt them without the necessary permit.

Check your local turtle laws here.

It is important to check local laws for specific guidelines.

For instance, Indiana, Maine, North and South Dakota, and Kansas prohibit the taking, possession, and trade of map turtles, including Cagle’s map turtles.

This is according to Fish and Wildlife Services.

Where can I buy Cagle’s map turtles?

Reptile pet shops such as Snakesatsunset and Theturtlesource have them from time to time.

When buying a turtle you should check to make sure it is a captive bred dealer and that the turtle is not wild caught.

Taking turtles from the wilde is bad for both animal conservation and the overall happiness of the turtle. Imagine if someone came and caged you up, you probably wouldn’t like it much.

The below video is an unboxing of a baby Cagle’s Map Turtle which happens to be pretty cute.


The Cagle’s map turtle is a good choice for newbies at reptile pet ownership. There are a lot of pros and not really any cons to having one for a pet.

The small size and simple dietary needs make pet care easier. The turtles on the following list of small turtles also make good pets.

They can also give you hours of amusement since they do not hide during the day. Give them good UVB lighting, and you’ll enjoy watching them bask in their tank.

Prop up good basking logs and rocks, and/or make your own basking spot and you’ll make them happy pets.

They also do well in a community.

References: IUCN, Fish and Wildlife Services, and NatureServe

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