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Top 15 Best Red-eared Slider Toys

It’s a great idea to have the best red-eared slider toys in your slider’s enclosure. Turtles may not be sociable but they still need to be stimulated. A great way to do this is to have objects that it can interact with. Many refer to this as turtle enrichment. The interactive objects ensure that the turtle gets the needed exercise and keeps mentally active. Some of these objects allow the turtle to remain hidden when they are uncomfortable or stressed.

Unfortunately, there are very few toys made for turtles. In fact, there are hardly any. This doesn’t mean that your turtle cannot play/ you can repurpose many objects into playthings for the turtle. When doing this, be careful not to give the turtle anything dangerous. You don’t want to unintentionally injure the turtle.

Here are some of the best toys for your red-eared slider.

Best Toys for Red Eared Sliders

1. Floating Logs

Zoo Med Floating Turtle Log

These look like small hollow logs and are usually made from resin and not wood. Despite this, they look realistic and have a bark-like texture.  It is an excellent object to keep the turtle entertained. As implied by their name, floating logs float. They give the slider an object to climb onto and hide in or behind it.

These logs do not roll as they are weighted at the base. This allows the turtle to easily climb onto them. In nature, sliders enjoy climbing onto logs to soak up the sun and dry off.

Floating logs also add a natural feel to the enclosure and improve the aesthetics of the turtle tank. Because the log is made of resin instead of wood, it is easy to clean and it doesn’t rot.

Pros

  • Floating logs keep the turtle entertained. They can climb on them and hide in or behind them.  Since they are weighted, they don’t easily roll.
  • They are durable and easy to clean.
  • They add to the natural feel of the enclosure.

2. Live Food

Minnow Feeder Fish

While they aren’t toys, they serve the same purpose. They stimulate the turtle. The hunt is thrilling. As many are already aware, turtles prefer live food as the movement of the prey is stimulating. Sliders in particular enjoy chasing their food.

If you want to keep your turtle active then I recommend offering some live food.  Feeder fish make excellent live food. Some fish to offer include crappies, killifish, mosquitofish, guppies, bluegills, platies, and bass.

You can also offer other types of live food such as grasshoppers, crickets, pond snails, super worms, mealworms (occasionally as they are high in fat), earthworms, cherry shrimps, and ghost shrimps.

Fishes to avoid include those high in thiaminase, high in fat, bony fish, and fast fish.

Some fishes that are high in thiaminase are gizzard shad, goldfish, bullhead catfish, carp, fathead minnows, spottail shiners, and channel catfish. While these can still be offered. High thiaminase levels significantly reduce the absorption of vitamin B1 (thiamine) in the turtle’s body. Also, avoid offering wild fish as they may carry parasites. Always offer store-bought feeder fish.

Some fishes with high-fat content are kribensis cichlids, rosy barbs, and goldfish. These are unhealthy. Sliders require meat and fish with low-fat content.

Some bony fishes include bichir, angelfish, and cockatoo cichlid. Bony fish can injure the turtle as they eat and swallow them.

Some fast-moving fishes include zebrafish, tiger barb, and neon tetra. You want the slider to be able to catch the fish. If the fish is too fast, the slider may never catch it. As you can imagine, this won’t be fun for the turtle.

Pros

  • Live food provides the turtle with exercise.
  • Healthy live food provides the turtle with the nutrients needed to thrive.

3. Zilla Turtle Chasers

Zilla Turtle Chasers Shrimp 2 Ounces

This is a decent way to keep turtles entertained and stimulated. Zilla turtle chasers are food. These are treats that the turtle can chase about. This provides a very stimulating experience. So what are turtle chasers? These are treats that are difficult to catch. When the turtle catches the treat, it is difficult to grab the knot causing the turtle to chase it again. This activity gives the food its name. While not as lasting as other toys on this list, turtle chasers are great and provide the turtle with ways to exercise.

You may be wondering but turtles love turtle chasers floating treats. Sliders in particular love these turtle chasers.

While fun and tasty, they can be messy.

Pros

  • The Zilla turtle chasers are healthy treats. They are made from healthy animal proteins.
  • Turtles enjoy chasing and eating the treat. It provides nourishment and keeps the turtle stimulated at the same time.

4. Glowing Bath Toys

Bath Toys, 8 Pcs Light Up Floating Rubber Animal Toys Set, Flashing Color Changing Light in Water, Baby Infants Kids Toddler Child Preschool Bathtub Bathroom Shower Games Swimming Pool Party

While glowing bath toys don’t add to the beauty or natural feel of the enclosure, they still make great toys for sliders. Their large size means that the turtle cannot accidentally ingest them. Turtles like to play with these toys. The glow seems to attract the turtle it provides the turtle with something to do. Sliders can nudge these toys around the enclosure.

These toys are designed for small children and toddlers who enjoy playing with them during bath time. They are made from nontoxic plastic and require batteries to light up. They flash brightly and slowly. It seems toddlers aren’t the only ones attracted by these toys. Sliders also like to play with them.

Cleaning these bath toys is easy, just wipe them down with a bleach solution and rinse them properly under clean running water.

Pros

  • These toys are low-priced and easy to replace if you want to.
  • They are soft and squishy. As such, they won’t harm the turtle.
  • Sliders enjoy playing with them.

Tank Substrates

Interestingly, the substrate in the enclosure can give the turtle something to interact with when bored. They may dig into the sandy substrate and try to move pebbles. My recommendation here is large pebbles. The turtle cannot accidentally swallow them and they even add to the aesthetics of the tank. The substrate can help give a natural feel to the enclosure.

Substrates aren’t a must. While the turtle won’t die without substrates they do add to the enclosure. You will need to clean the substrate now and then as they can hide food particles and other organic material. So substrates will give you some extra work, extra but not much.

Which substrates do I recommend? My personal favorite for sliders is river pebbles. These are smooth large pebbles you can use for any aquarium including turtle tanks. Their large size means that sliders cannot swallow them. Below are my favorite tank substrates.

5. Royal Imports River Pebbles

Royal Imports 5LBS River Rocks Decorative Ornamental Pebbles, Garden Landscaping Stones, Gravel Filler for Plants, Vases, Succulents, Home Decor, Aquariums, Crafting, Animal Habitat - Large Natural

As already mentioned, these are my favorites. Royal Import’s river pebbles are polished. They are quite large. This means that turtles can’t swallow them. Additionally, they are smooth and round with no edges that can harm the turtle. They all generally have a diameter of 0.75 to 2 inches.

If you are in the market for turtle enrichment, then you should look into the Royal Import’s river pebbles.

Pros

  • These pebbles are beautiful. While the slider won’t care about this, it adds to the aesthetics of the enclosure. Sliders are display pets and building a lovely environment helps humans to appreciate the slider more.
  • They are odorless and non-toxic. They will not affect water conditions at all.
  • The pebbles are very safe. The pebbles are large and turtles cannot swallow them. Additionally, they are tumbled and polished which makes them smooth.

6. Seachem Fluorite

Flourite Dark, 7 kg / 15.4 lbs

This is another excellent substrate. These are a great way to go if you wish to have live plants in the enclosure. Live plants are also a way to keep sliders stimulated. While turtles may dig into them, they aren’t known to eat them.

Seachem fluorite provides live plants with excellent nourishment.

Pros

  • Fluorite beautifies the enclosure and provides a natural aesthetic.
  • Turtles do not eat fluorite.
  • Fluorite is natural.
  • It’s easy to reuse the substrate.

7. Exo Terra Turtle Pebbles

Exo Terra Turtle Pebbles, Large

Another excellent choice of pebbles is the Exo Terra pebbles. These are sold by Exo Terra. This company is quite well-known among reptile enthusiasts. The Exo Terra pebbles are good and affordable. While they are called turtle pebbles, they are similar to any other pebbles on the market. Peebles are natural, odorless, and do not produce any chemicals. This makes it an excellent substrate choice.

Before you use the Exo Terra pebbles, I recommend that you wash them as they aren’t well-washed before packaging.

Pros

The positives of these are similar to those of other pebbles on this list.

  • They are nice and add to the natural feel of the enclosure.
  • The rocks are smooth and large as well.

9. Hol-ee Roller Dog Toy

JW Pet Hol-ee Roller Dog Toy Puzzle Ball, Natural Rubber, Small (3 Inch Diameter), Colors May Vary

These toys may be designed for dogs but turtles also enjoy interacting with them. They are large, squishy, and tough. They are designed to be chew toys for dogs so they have to be able to withstand rough handling. The turtle plays with the ball by pushing them around.

These balls are hollow with a net-like design. One way to keep your turtle entertained and stimulated is by stuffing the ball with leafy green veggies or edible aquatic plants. This is a great way to keep the turtle exercising while it eats.

Pros

  • They are durable, fun, and affordable.
  • You can stuff the balls with food to entice the turtle to play.

10. Exo Terra Moss Ball

Exo Terra Moss Ball, Water Clarity and Odor Control for Aqua-Terrariums, PT2478, Green

These are designed to keep the turtle tank odor-free and clear. Moss balls limit organic matter accumulation, eliminate nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate, and deodorize the enclosure. You will have to change them out occasionally for them to still be effective.

Since it’s a ball, the slider will interact with it. They will push it around. In addition to being a plaything, they keep the enclosure clean and healthy. They even remove water cloudiness. Even if the tank is too large for the moss ball to be effective, the turtle can still play with it.

Pros

  • They serve a dual purpose. They keep the tank clean and odor-free. These balls are designed to remove harmful chemicals such as nitrate, nitrite, and phosphate. They can even clear up cloudy water. The turtle can also play with the ball.
  • They are affordable and easy to find.

Live Plants

Live plants are great for a slider’s enclosure. They are natural and help keep the water in the enclosure clean and they provide adequate hiding spots for the turtle. Turtles including sliders like to remain hidden. This is instinctive. Having objects they can hide in helps minimize stress and keeps them comfortable.

Additionally, the sliders can eat the plants. The plants given here are edible so you need not worry about the turtle ingesting the plant.

On the downside, plants require maintenance, they also need to be replaced after the turtle is done with it.

Below are five of the best plants to keep in a turtle enclosure.

11. Broad-leaf Anubias (Anubias barteri)

SubstrateSource Anubias Live Aquarium Plants - Potted Freshwater Plant for Fish Tanks, Terrariums - Beginner Friendly Low Light (Nana, 1 Pot)

One of the easiest plants you can grow is the broad-leaf Anubias also known as the Anubias barteri. They grow slowly but require little to no care. They can thrive in temperatures of 72 to 82 degrees. While they are edible, sliders don’t enjoy eating them. Because of this, you don’t have to worry about their slow growth rate. They can be coupled with another plant to add variety to the enclosure.

Pros

  • They are easy to grow.
  • They produce beautiful leathery leaves.
  • Although they grow slowly, they are hardy and require little care.
  • It doesn’t need substrate to grow.

12. Java Fern

Java Fern and Anubias Bundle

This is another hardy plant for the slider’s pants. You may even have heard of it as it is or seen it as they are one of the most common plants kept in aquariums. Similar to other plants on this list. This plant doesn’t need substrate to grow. My advice is to simply anchor it down with a rock. 

Pros

  • Java ferns filter out harmful compounds in the water. They are particularly good at reducing nitrate levels. 
  • Although it is edible, turtles do not find it tasty. You don’t have to worry about their slow growth rate.
  • They are nice to view. 

13. Hornwort

Microsorum Java Fern and Hornwort | Easy Low Light Aquarium Plants

These are easy to grow and grow rather quickly. They are amazing starter plants for first-timers. In no time, they will reach a substantial size. Interestingly, they don’t even require the substrate to grow. I recommend this plant for tank sizes over 15 gallons. I also recommend anchoring the hornwort down with a suction cup. 

Pros

  • They are easy to grow and require very little maintenance. 
  • They filter out harmful compounds in the water. They are particularly good at reducing nitrate levels. 
  • They grow quickly so even if the turtle eats them regularly, they will grow back. 
  • The plant doesn’t need substrate to grow.

14. Amazon Sword Plant

Marcus Fish Tanks - 3X Amazon Sword Echinodorus Bleheri Easy Live Aquarium Plants for Aquatic Freshwater Fish Tank

The Amazon sword requires substrate to grow. They can grow in fluorite which is the substrate of choice for aquarium plants. Both Echinodorus amazonicus and Echinodorus bleheri can be grown in the turtle’s enclosure. Both of these are also easy to find. You can find them in most aquatic pet stores. You can also order them online.

Pros

  • The broad leaves are nice to look at and beautify the enclosure.
  • The broad leaves of this plant filter out toxins.
  • Although it is edible, turtles do not find it tasty. You don’t have to worry about their slow growth rate.
  • They are easy to find and easy to maintain.

15. Anacharis (Waterweed)

New Anacharis Egeria Elodea Densa Tropical Live Aquarium Aquatic Plant BUY2 +1 Free

The last plant we will be looking at is the anacharis. These are fast-growing plants that are commonly considered as weeds. No need to worry about their fast-growing nature as sliders enjoy snacking on them. If you have several sliders in your tank, they should eat these plants as quickly as they grow. You may need to occasionally remove them if they grow too fast for your liking.

Pros

  • Red-eared sliders love eating anacharis. They are low in calories and high in nutrients. This makes the plant a healthy snack choice for the turtle.
  • They are easy to grow.
  • You don’t need to anchor the plant to the bottom of the plant as they can do that themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I keep my red-eared slider entertained?

There are many ways to keep your red-eared slider entertained. The easiest way is to feed them live food. Moving food simulates the turtle. In the wild, they hunt live prey. Try to create that.

Some live foods to offer include grasshoppers, crickets, pond snails, super worms, mealworms (occasionally as they are high in fat), earthworms, cherry shrimps, and ghost shrimps.

You can also offer live fish such as crappies, killifish, mosquitofish, guppies, bluegills, platies, and bass.

You can also offer the turtle other objects to play with such as the ones already mentioned here such as floating logs, glowing toys, and roller dog toys.

What do red-eared sliders love?

Turtles love to eat. They especially love live food. Several of these have already been mentioned. Offer the turtle mealworms, super worms, aquatic snails, crickets, shrimps, and healthy feeder fish and they will be happy. Make sure not to overfeed your turtle.

They also love to bask. Create a nice basking environment for your turtle. 
You should also provide things they can play with such as moss balls, roller dog toys, and plants.

Finally, sliders love adequate hiding spots. Sure, they don’t need hiding spots to live but it keeps them comfortable and at ease. Live plants can provide adequate hiding spots.

What should I get for my red-eared slider?

First, make sure that the enclosure is good enough for the turtle. Start with a large tank. For every inch of the slider’s carapace (upper shell), provide about 10 gallons of water. A 10-inch slider needs 100 gallons of water.

Secondly, provide an adequate basking area. This is a dry portion located under heat lamps. The basking platform can be a floating shelf or a large rock that sticks out of the water. A lot of different objects work as far as the turtle can easily climb onto it.
Thirdly, provide adequate lighting and temperatures.

Next, you need to install an aquarium filter.

You also need to provide healthy foods and feed the turtle on a schedule.

After all of this is taken care of, you can provide the turtle with toys. Some of the best things to keep your slider entertained are provided in this article.

What are the best treats for red-eared sliders?

The best treat for your slider is live food. Sliders love food that is moving. Offer healthy choices such as crappies, killifish, mosquitofish, guppies, bluegills, platies, and bass. Avoid bony fish, fast fish, fish high in thiaminase, and fish high in fat.

You can also offer live shrimps, grasshoppers, cricket, aquatic snails, and suoerworms.

What do red-eared sliders hate?

Sliders hate being handled. They are prey to several animals and handling them can stress them as they may think you are a predator. After a while, they may come to tolerate your handling. Sliders also dislike aggressive tank mates. While they do not mind sharing their enclosure with other animals, they do not appreciate tank mates that harass them. They prefer to be left alone.

Conclusion

Red-eared sliders are solitary animals. However, even they love objects to play with. Typically, the playthings of turtles are slightly different from those of other animals. For instance, sliders love to chase live fish. They provide them with an enjoyable activity with a rewarding end.

Some of the best red-eared slider toys are floating logs, live fish, turtle chasers, bath toys, substrates such as pebbles and fluorite, live plants, and moss balls.  Many of these objects also serve additional purposes. Plants provide nourishment and a place to hide. Live fish also provide nourishment. The turtle can also bask on floating logs.

As a slider parent, you shouldn’t overlook turtle enrichment. Play is important.

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