What Do Turtles Like to Play With

What Do Turtles Like to Play With? How Do You Keep Them Entertained?

Most turtle owners often feel like the pets get bored when in the tank. Their first option is either adding a new pet to the aquarium or buying some playing toys. However, do they like toys? Which do they like most?

So, what do turtles like to play with? In the wild, turtles like playing with empty shells. Despite experiencing boredom less often than other pets, turtles are curious and will interact and play with items in their tank. Decorations and floating toys are some of the toys that your turtles can play with.

There is not much research done on the toys these reptiles like playing with. Continue reading to learn more on this topic

What Do Pet Turtles Like to Play With?


Reptiles, including turtles, feel emotions like stress and boredom. However, they do not experience the same level of emotion as mammals. This means turtles are less likely to feel boredom and loneliness as frequently as a human would. This, however doesn’t mean they don’t like playing with toys like other pets.

What Do Pet Turtles Like to Play With

Turtles are curious pets who like to explore and interact with items around them. If you add a new item to the tank, a turtle will likely swim and analyze it. Their response to new items is one way to tell if your pet is stressed or unwell. In the wild, turtles like playing with empty shells, stones, and sticks.

How Do I Keep My Pet Turtle Entertained?

Pets in captivity are more likely to get bored than when they’re in the wild. The limited swimming and basking spaces discourage these pets from exercising. Pets in the tanks are also provided with food and don’t have to hunt, which reduces their activities.

Boredom is more likely to lead to stress and depression in turtles. A depressed turtle will lose their appetite and likely develop a poor immune system. To say a few, a stressed turtle is prone to infections and can easily get diseases.

How Do I Keep My Pet Turtle Entertained

So, how do you keep these pets active and entertained? The following are some of the things to enrich your pet turtle.

1. Decorations

Decorations are items in the turtle tank that they can explore, smell, and feel. These enrichments include rocks, plants, wood, and other plastic toys ideal for your turtle. The turtle will rearrange most of these decorations, which is a good thing in terms of exercise.

You can also rearrange these decorations every few months when you clean the tank. This will give the turtle a new layout and another chance to explore everything again. You can also occasionally add new decorations to the aquarium, which your pet will be eager to explore.

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2. Hunting prey

Most turtle species are omnivores, where they hunt fish, worms, and snails, among other small animals. Occasionally, you should introduce these prey animals and let your turtle pet hunt them. When your pet spots these new animals in the tank, they will get excited and start chasing after them.

How Do I Keep My Pet Turtle Entertained

Pick and carefully examine the type of prey animal you provide for them. Avoid prey animals like goldfish and minnows because despite being cheap, in excess, they can cause thiamine deficiency. Stick to the safe feeder fish from your local pet store because some fish carry bacteria that can be harmful to your pet.

Also read: Do Turtles Need A Heat Lamp At Night?

Which Toys Do Turtles Like to Play With?

In captivity, turtles can have multiple toys which they can play with. These toys should be safe for the turtle and shouldn’t damage the aquarium. The following are some of the toys your pet can enjoy playing with.

Which Toys Do Turtles Like to Play With
  1. Floating feeder – A floating feeder is an interesting toy for your turtle pet. The floating feeder can bear various shapes, including that of a fish. The feeder is hollow on the inside where food is placed and contains holes that your pet can eat from. As the pet chases these moving feeders, the holes release treats that your pet turtle then graciously eats.
  2. Shells – Shells are some of the natural toys for turtles. They like to flip, carry, and inspect them.
  3. Treat balls – Treat balls are plastic toys with holes on the sides. Just like floating feeders, treats are placed on the inside and released as the turtle plays. Turtles enjoy games where their favorite treats are rewarded as they play, which makes treat balls suitable toys.
  4. Shooter marbles – Shooter marbles are strictly for smaller turtles who cannot mistakenly swallow them. These include baby turtles or smaller aquatic turtles, including spotted turtles and musk turtles. These marbles are colorful, and turtles enjoy chasing after them in the tank.
  5. Glowing toys – Glowing toys come in different colors and resemble various aquatic animals. Turtles find these toys interesting because they glow and are made with safe material they can chew on.

As you go shopping for toys for your pet turtle, ensure you consider their safety and quality. Sadly, you’re likely to find many toxic toys in the market. Some plastics, for instance, have paint that releases toxic elements when immersed in water. Continued use of such toys will expose your turtles to toxicity, which may affect their health. 

Which Toys Do Turtles Like to Play With

Thankfully, you can always find aquatic toys that are entirely healthy. They may cost a little more, but their safety is guaranteed. Stick to those high-quality choices to avoid unnecessary exposure that would get your pet sick. Also, note that plastic pollution kills aquatic turtles, so you must avoid using contaminants in the name of toys. 

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Turtles are not playful pets by nature, but they can get depressed and stressed if bored. This raises the question of which toys they like playing with most and their safety. The following are the most frequent questions on this topic and their answers.

1. What Is The Turtles’ Favorite Toy?

Most pet owners find it hard to decide which is the favorite toy for their turtle pet. This is because most species of turtles are less playful, and not much research has been done on their playful behaviors. However, in nature, aquatic turtles like playing with empty shells where they will spend time flipping them over.

2. Can Turtles Get Bored?

Turtles do not require a companion or to play regularly for entertainment as humans do. Turtles do well by themselves; sometimes adding another pet to the tank can lead to a fight rather than companionship. However, turtles can get bored in the absence of decorations and if toys haven’t been renewed for a long time.

3. Does My Aquatic Turtle Need to Play With Toys? 

Yes, aquatic turtles need toys for play. If you own a pet cooter or red-eared slider, you should buy them floating toys for quality entertainment. But, if it’s a musk turtle, any small toy will suffice. They are not specific, and any toy you bring on board excites them. 

Related: Do Turtles Need Rocks In Their Tank?


Aquatic turtles enjoy playing with empty shells while in their natural habitats. In the wild, they’re more active in hunting, burrowing, and swimming which keeps them entertained.  On the other hand, captive turtles don’t have much freedom and exercise and hunt less often.

The lack of activities can make a turtle bored and depressed. Occasionally engaging it in hunting games and providing potential prey animals is one way of making the turtle happy. There is a wide variety of toys and decorations you can use in your turtle tank.

What Do Turtles Like to Play With

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