Turtles make wonderful pets, but they can get bored and lonely without a little enrichment. Enrichment is the process of providing stimuli for a pet that encourages a wide variety of natural behaviors in an effort to promote their physical and psychological well-being. Turtle toys are one method of enrichment. As a turtle owner, it is important to purchase the best toys for turtles to keep your tank members entertained! Our favorite turtle toys are Zoo Med Laboratories Floating Turtle Feeder, Champkey Limited Flight Practice Golf Balls, and Basking Platform for Aquatic Turtles, among others.
Toys are not just fun for your turtle-they also help keep your turtle active so he doesn’t get sick from spending too much time bored in his enclosure! In this article, we will go over some great toy options for turtles, as well as how to choose the right ones based on specific characteristics about your own turtle’s personality and habitat setup. We’ll also cover which types of toys are best suited for different stages of growth. Let’s dive in!
Best Toys for Turtles:
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Are Toys Necessary to Keep a Turtle Happy?
In the wild, turtles can be quite playful from time to time. However, when living in captivity, they often don’t get enough exercise or stimulation. Their tank may provide them with some form of entertainment (swimming space, rocks to climb on, places to bask under heat lamps), but it’s not always enough to keep them happy and engaged. We love providing toys for turtles because it helps them stay active and healthy and provides additional ways for you to bond with your pet!
The Importance Of Enrichment
Providing your pet turtle with stimulating toys that encourage natural behaviors is crucial to his well-being. There are documented cases of turtles being stressed and even depressed when confined to unstimulating environments. Signs of stress in turtles include lack of appetite, lethargy, or distressed swimming patterns.
Thatâ€™s why itâ€™s important to always provide toys for your pet, and rotate out old ones over time. Turtles can be quite picky about their favorite toys, so it’s best not to expect them to play equally with all toys, or sustain interest in a certain toy for an extended period of time. Keep them guessing to keep them happy! Luckily, the toys for turtles listed on this guide are affordable so you can try out a few options!
Toys for Turtles: Playing with your Turtle
One easy method of turtle enrichment is playing directly with your turtle. This will allow your turtle to engage in all sorts of natural behaviors. It can also be fun for both you and your pet to bond through this kind of interaction.
When you play with your turtle, it is important to understand if your turtle enjoys being touched. Some turtles love touches on their shells or feet, while others prefer to hang out solo. Turtles can feel touch on their shells similar to how it feels when someone touches your fingernail. Make sure your touches with your turtle are gentle to build trust. If your turtle likes touch, this is a great way to provide stimulation.
If you have a less touch-friendly turtle, you can still play with them in other ways. Wiggle your fingers outside of the tank for a different visual event for them, let them explore your house, or take them outside for a grand adventure. All of these are good options for expanding your turtle’s world!
Toys for Turtles: Offering your Turtle New Foods
Another way to offer enrichment is by offering your turtle new foods. Some turtles are more picky eaters than others, but most will at least try something new if it looks interesting enough.
If you have a little extra pocket change, consider buying your turtle some “treats” on top of their regular food supply! Below are some potential options:
- Fruits and Vegetables: Fruits and veggies are great choices for your turtle. Sample treats include tomatoes, strawberries, lettuce, and spinach.
- Live Food: Live foods, such as shrimp, fish, insects, and tadpoles, will get your turtle to hunt, bringing some of their natural instincts forward.
- Foraging Food: Food that sinks to the bottom of your tank, like mealworms or dried shrimp, will encourage your turtle to root to find the food. This is a natural way of finding food for them. The only caveat with this option is that you need make sure you’re regularly cleaning your tank and removing excess food so you don’t spike your ammonia.
- Floating Food: Floating foods are excellent for your turtle and mimic live foods in that they can be difficult for the turtle to catch. There are specially-designed turtle treats, such as the Zoo Med Turtle Bone, for this purpose.
What are the Best Toys for Turtles?
- Zoo Med Laboratories Floating Turtle Feeder
- Mega Marbles – 24 1″ SHOOTER MARBLES
- Champkey Limited Flight Practice Golf Balls
- JW Pet Toy Puzzle Ball, Natural Rubber, Mini
- Fluker’s Aquatic Turtle Medley Treat Food, 1.5-Ounce
- Air Stone Kit
- Basking Platform for Aquatic Turtles
- Live Plants
This turtle toy looks like a fish. It is hollow with a few holes on the sides, which is where the food slowly releases when your turtle starts to play with this feeder.
The feeder is made from solid and durable plastic, which means it can stand up to many rounds of your turtle chasing it around the tank. This feeder comes with two small packs of floating pellets but you can really use any floating food you’d like, as long as the food isn’t too big or small for the toy’s holes.
This feeder is pretty big, so it might not be the best choice if your turtles are young or small.
This is an excellent toy because it will keep your turtles physically active in their tank and help them mentally by having them “hunt” for their food.
- Fish-shaped toy with holes on side to release food
- Made of durable plastic
- Great for physical and mental stimulation
- Compatible with multiple types of floating food
- Large toy, suggested for turtles over 5 inches in length
Some turtles really love marbles! They’re easy to roll around the tank so you will find some turtles love pushing these around. We recommend changing out the marble every couple of days so that your turtle has a new toy.
This set of marbles consists of 24 pieces that are 1 inch in diameter and come in different color patterns.
Please be careful with these! Depending on your turtle, these marbles might be too small for larger turtle species with bigger mouths. We recommend these shooter marbles as a toy for smaller aquatic turtles such as:
- musk turtles
- bog turtles
- spotted turtles
- Set of 24 marbles
- Multi-colored marbles
- 1 inch in diameter
- Some turtles love playing and pushing marbles around
- Multiple color options so you can switch out the marble in the tank to keep it visually stimulating with new colors
- Too small for larger turtle species
If you like the idea of marbles, but want something larger and less delicate, practice golf balls are a great alternative. Practice golf balls are lighter than original golf balls, which makes them a safe alternative for your turtle.
They come in multiple color options so you can mix and match them so your turtle gets a variety of colors.
These balls also have small holes which are great for stuffing small treats that your turtle has to work to get out. For example, earthworms would be a super exciting treat in these for your turtle.
- Rubber construction is soft but durable for turtles
- Holes in ball which are great for stuffing turtle foods
- Great alternative to marbles
- Good for acting as food dispenser
- Limited to three color options
This Puzzle Ball is actually a dog toy ball that works really well for pet turtles. This puzzle ball comes in different sizes and colors too, so you can find a size that works for your pet. It is made from non-toxic rubber that is safe for dogs chewing on it, which means it can stand up to be being bonked around by your turtle.
Make sure that you choose the correct size for your turtle. If you have a young or small turtle, get the smallest ball available. The toy should be appropriately sized for your pet, otherwise, it will be too large and difficult for them to play with.
Like the golf balls above, stuffing this puzzle toy with turtle food makes it a very fun toy for your turtle.
- Made of non-toxic rubber
- Soft, rounded puzzle ball
- Great for stuffing with turtle treats
- Easy to push around the tank
- Multiple sizes, might need to experiment to find the right size
This option is less of a toy and more of food enrichment for your turtle. This is a freeze-dried blend of river shrimp, mealworms, and crickets. In addition to providing different types of food, this option contains essential proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Reviews report turtles loving this mix of bugs and getting excited whenever they see the canister. Reviewers also note this mix has lots of actual, whole insects versus leftover bug dust used to meet the desired product weight.
- River shrimp, mealworms, and crickets blend
- Turtles love it!
- Crickets are a little too big for small turtles
Air stones are a popular piece of equipment for freshwater aquariums because they help to oxygenate and move around the water, keeping the environment fresh.
Turtles also love the air stones. The air bubbles are exciting for turtles, helping create a fun environment for swimming with a very slight current.
The Hygger Air Stone Kit includes an air disc stone, control value, check valve, suction cups, tee connector, and a reducer. This kit is well-known for bubbles that are smaller, uniform in size, and dense. This is better for oxygenation and also better for creating a consistent swimming environment.
Additionally, this air stone kit is quiet, meaning you won’t have to listen to the constant drone of its operation.
- Includes air disc stone, control value, check valve, suction cups, tee connector, and a reducer
- Uniform in size, small bubbles
- Can be difficult to clean air stone
A basking platform is essential for your aquatic turtle. It is a platform that is typically attached to the side of the turtle tank. It is placed just above water level which creates a dry space for your turtle to get out of the water and rest, while also providing a place to soak up the sun. Basking is a natural turtle behavior and helps self-regulate their body temperature so it is important to be able to give them this opportunity. In addition to a basking area, it is important to keep your turtle’s water at the correct temperature so that they can maintain their homeostasis no matter where they are in the tank.
We highly recommend a basking platform or dedicated basking space for your turtle so that they can keep up with their natural behaviors.
- Designed for standard-sized tanks up to 55 gallons and 13â€ wide
- Includes a hanging platform that sits just below the waterline, allowing your turtle to rest while being partially submerged
- Encourages natural turtle behavior of basking
- Durable construction
- Can accommodate larger turtles with some modifications
- Requires purchasing separate extenders if your tank is too wide
Live plants are a great option for your turtle tank. They provide a natural habitat for your turtle, helping to reduce stress which keeps them healthier long-term.
If you pick the correct live plants, you can provide your turtles with natural hiding places and convenient and healthy snacks. Because of their propensity to chomp on plants, you will likely need to replace the plants ever so often.
Some of the top live plants for a turtle tank includes:
Toys for Turtles FAQs
How to make homemade turtle toys?
Homemade turtle toys are a great way to provide your pet with appropriate mental and physical stimulation. If you’re crafty or enjoy do-it-yourself projects, you can get pretty creative with potential toys. For starters, you could flip some plastic tupperware upside down to make a low-level climbing gym for your turtle. We recommend using only small shapes that are low to the ground to avoid any flips. You could also try making cute turtles out of plastic bottles if you’re feeling crafty.
How do you know if a turtle is happy?
Turtles are not as easy to assess happiness like some other pets like dogs, cats, or any other animal that can show affection. However, they will still give us clues with their activity levels if they’re thriving or struggling. A turtle must be healthy in order to be happy. Turtles that are active in their tanks, frequently bask, like to hunt for food, and always get excited when you bring food to their tanks are happy turtles. Turtles that are lethargic, slow to eat or hunt, and don’t seem to revel in basking might be under the weather or bored and in need of some additional attention.
Do turtles like to be held?
Some turtles seem to enjoy limited handling, but it varies greatly on the turtle’s temperament. Overall, we would say that turtles prefer to be left alone. If you plan to hold your turtle for extended periods of time, be considerate and do it in an environment where they feel safe. Turtles may become stressed while being held due to their limited sight, struggling to escape an uncomfortable grip or unfamiliar territory. If you can avoid these issues, they will have a better experience.
Conclusion – Best Toys for Turtles
Turtles living in captivity often don’t get enough exercise or stimulation. Their tank may provide them with some forms of entertainment (swimming space, rocks to climb on), but it’s not always enough to make up for what they’re missing out on when compared with their natural environment. That’s why it’s important that you provide your pet turtle with entertaining toys that will help them stay active and healthy! What type of toys do your turtles like? Let us know below in the comments!