The best toys for turtles vary depending on the size and type. Tortoises also known as land turtles will enjoy a ball better than a floating log for example.
Below are 6 great toy ideas for your turtle or tortoise including things like balls, tank accessories, and also interactive things like live food.
Turtles may not be as sociable as most animals kept as pets, but they too need to play. Lack of activity has been linked to panic attacks, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even self-harm. All of these are detrimental to the turtle’s well-being.
Introducing good toys for your turtles will help them be active and will engage their brain in an activity that isn’t just about coming to you when you are feeding them.
Best toys for turtles
1. Zilla Turtle Chasers
Turtle chasers are designed to be chased by the turtle. This is actually an entertaining task for the turtle.
So how do turtle chasers work? Well, they are designed to be difficult to grab. As such, the turtle spends a significant among of time chasing and trying to grab it. This chase provides the turtle with exercise.
The turtle chasers are made of real shrimp and turtles find this treat tasty. They are also rich in protein.
Why offer your turtle these treats? They provide turtles with a fun exercise. Since they are made from shrimp they are rich in natural protein and attaractive for the turtle to eat. They offer both exercise and nourishment.
- Healthy source of protein
- Stimulate excercise
2. Zoo Med Floating Log
These floating logs are made from a resin although they look like real wood. Not only do these logs beautify the enclosure and give a natural look to it, but it is also an excellent object of enrichment for the turtles. Turtles can play around it and hide in it.
The floating log is weighted at the base which ensures it doesn’t roll over when turtles are climing onto it. The log also provides a hiding spot for turtles.
Why choose floating logs? They provide security and comfort. The logs also beautify the enclosure and provide a natural look.
- An additional hiding place
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Easy to clean
- Weighted to prevent rolling
Check out our Zoo Med Turtle log review for more.
3. Live food
Most semi-aquatic turtles are predators. In the wild, these turtles hunt mollusks, crayfish, aquatic insects, and many more. Turtles such as map turtles, musk, mud turtles, cooters and many more find live food very entertaining and stimulating.
Some live food to introduce to the enclosure includes live shrimp, prawns, goldfish and, guppies. These provide the turtle with exercise and stimuli.
Most turtles are predators and as such cannot be kept with small fish as they would hunt them. Some turtles don’t seem interested in shrimp.
An excellent choice for live prey is the ghost or amano shrimp. These shrimp are quick and multiply quite fast.
Why keep live food in the turtle’s aquarium? As predators, turtles appreciate the chance to chase after prey. In addition to providing the turtle with stimuli, they also provide the turtle with nourishment.
- Live fish, shrimp, and guppies provide turtles with stimuli and exercise.
- The live prey also provides turtles with nourishment.
4. Rubber Practice Golf Balls
These balls are designed to help golfers practice their swings in the backyard. However, these balls also make excellent turtle toys. They are made of tough rubber and are durable.
They also float which will make the turtle have to swim to get to it and will help make them excercise so they don’t get overweight. These toys are great for semi-aquatic turtles such as musk turtles, map turtles, and box turtles.
When getting a toy for your pet turtle, you have to ensure it is safe for the turtle. The toy needs to be large enough so the turtle doesn’t swallow it.
Additionally, it needs to not have any sharp parts that can harm the turtle. These rubber practice golf balls are safe and fun for the turtle.
- Safe to use
- Affordable and easy to obtain.
- Semi-aquatic and aquatic turtles enjoy playing with them
5. Dog Toy Puzzle Ball
These toys are made of tough rubber as they are supposed to be dog chew toys. The rubber is tough but soft and stretchy in nature. It also floats.
So the turtles can easily play with them. When getting a dog toy puzzle ball, get a small one. They may be small for dogs but they are large for most semi-aquatic and aquatic turtles.
These dog chew toys can have food (such as aquatic plants) in them. The turtle can get tasty treats while playing at the same time. It provides both aquatic and terrestrial chelonians with a lot of exercises.
Why choose treat balls? They are safe for turtles as they are soft and squishy. They can put food into the ball for turtles.
- The soft and stretchy nature of the ball allows you to insert aquatic weeds such as duckweed and water hyacinth.
- They are affordable and easy to find.
- They provide the turtle with a lot of stimuli.
6. Glowing Bath Toys
Turtles seem to enjoy playing with bath toys. They seem to be particularly fond of glowing bath boys. These toys are large enough so the turtles cannot swallow them.
Small turtles such as red-eared sliders enjoy pushing these toys around.
These toys float and glow which is what attracts the turtles. They are made of a non toxic plastic and are battery powered.
All you need to do is place the battery into the toy and they glow. They don’t have an off switch. These toys need to be cleaned monthly using a bleach mixutre solution. Make sure they are thouroughly rinsed after use.
Why choose glowing bath toys? They are safe to use, although it’s advisable to clean them regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria. The glow of the toy attracts the attention of the turtle.
- Safe to use
There is a lot to look out for when getting your turtle a toy but the most important factor to consider is safety. You don’t want a toy that could hurt your turtle.
The main things to consider are that the toys have no sharp edges, and the turtle or tortoises can not swallow or ingest them.
The toy you choose, if not edible, needs to be large enough to where it can’t be ingested and choked on. Size will be relevant to your turtle or toroise species.
If the chelonian is large then the toy needs to be larger. If the chelonian is small then the toy can be smaller.
Shooter marbles were recommended in some places, but from our perspective they could still be dangerous so we chose not to recommend them.
Edible or not
Live prey can act as toys. Most semi-aquatic turtles hunt. They generally hunt small fish, shrimp, crustaceans, aquatic insects, and other small animals.
Turtles enjoy chasing prey. You can introduce goldfish, guppies, and shrimp to the aquarium. Live prey offers interactivity since the turtle needs to chase and catch the food.
The other benefit is that they also feed your turtle when they eventually catch the food. They have their disadvantages however, firstly you don’t want to overfeed the turtle.
Also, you may consistently have to replace the live fish.
When it comes to live food, I recommend ghost shrimp. They reproduce quickly and are quick making it harder for your turtle to catch them.
Other foods such as turtle chasers double as toys. They can be messy though.
Toys that are not edible also work well. You can even place food in some such as the dog puzzle toy. They don’t need to be replaced and they don’t create a mess.
Of course, the most important point is safety. The toy should not pose a threat to the turtle. If it is live food, it shouldn’t attack the turtle if the turtle refuses to eat it.
Plastic toys shouldn’t have sharp edges where the turtle could injure itself. Lastly, the toy shouldn’t be something that can be ingested and choke the turtle.
There is a lot to choose from. You can find household items that can double as toys. These include rubber ducks, small rubber toys, and more.
Our favortite and top choice is the Zilla Turtle Chasers which is both a toy and food and it is really cheap. The next favorite is the Zoo Med Floating Log which provides a basking spot as well as hiding spots. And our 3rd favorite is the live food option.
As mentioned above think about the safety, nutrition and stimulation your turtle will get from whatever you choose.
I’m curious to know what you like to use as a toy for your turtle. Let us know in the comments below.