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What Do Turtles Do For Fun?

It’s difficult to say what turtles do for fun in general, since it’s tough to read their emotion.

It is easy to figure out what dogs or even cats do for fun. You may even wonder whether turtles have fun.

Unlike other pets such as dogs, turtles are not naturally sociable with humans. Regardless of this, turtles do enjoy having fun.

Your pet box turtle, wild turtles, and sea turtles also need to find ways to have fun.

If you are stumped, here are some things that turtles can do for fun. Allowing your turtle to have fun will enrichen the turtle’s life and make your pet healthier as most fun activities involve some form of exercise. 

Things Turtles Do For Fun

Basking Is A Fun Activity For Turtles

red-eared slider basking in its tank
Red-eared slider basking in its tank.

Most turtle species such as the painted turtle, map turtle, cooters, and many more enjoy basking. You can see them basking most of the day in the wild.

In an enclosure, you should endure that the turtle can bask. You need to install a basking platform such as Penn Plax Turtle Basking Platform.

You should also install a heat ball and a bulb that provides UV radiation (UVA and UVB). Not only is this activity fun for the turtle, but it is also essential to their health. 

Some turtles bask rarely. Some of these species include musk turtles and mud turtles.

If you have a species that rarely bask do not be worried if they do not bask often. Species such as map turtles, cooters, and painted turtles bask daily.

If your pet is of a species that bask regularly then you may need to worry if they do not bask. There can be many reasons why the turtle may not be basking.

The basking spot may not be warm enough. The water in the enclosure may be too warm.

The turtle could be carrying eggs. There are many reasons, so it is best to see a herp vet if your turtle is refusing to bask.

Turtles Enjoy Going Through Obstacle Courses

Turtle walking over rocks
Turtle walking over rocks.

Create an obstacle course for the turtle with stones, water pets, plants, and other objects found in the turtle’s natural habitat. To make the game fun for the turtle place a treat at the end of each obstacle course.

Turtles Enjoy Exploring Their Surroundings

turtle exploring its enclosure
Turtle exploring its enclosure.

Turtles spend most of their time in the wild exploring their environment for food. This activity can be stimulating for the reptile.

Turtles are curious reptiles and are curious about objects in their enclosure. Make the turtle’s enclosure fun to explore.

Firstly, the enclosure needs to be large enough especially if you have more than one turtle within the enclosure. You can have several plants in the enclosure and toys such as logs and hides.

Although turtles may find the objects in their enclosure stimulating, it is a bad idea to change the positions of objects in the enclosure often. This can confuse the turtle into thinking it’s in a new environment. Turtles prefer familiarity.

Many Turtles Are Foodies And They Love To Eat

close-up of a turtle eating greens
Close-up of a turtle eating greens.

Food can serve as a source of fun for turtles. Just make sure not to overfeed them.

Instead, you can vary the food items that you offer them. You can offer them all types of greens, and animal foods.

You can even offer them fruits such as strawberries which they love. Of course, you should only offer them fruits occasionally since the high sugar content can lead to obesity.

Also, vary the proteins you offer them.

While commercially manufactured foods such as Tetra ReptoMin Floating Food Sticks, Fluker’s Buffet Blend Aquatic Formula Turtle Food, and Fluker’s Aquatic Turtle Medley Treat Food are great you should also offer live food they can chase.

These include dubia roaches, blood worms, crickets, and many more. The chase is an entertaining activity for turtles and they find this stimulating.

Also, they are rewarded with food after the chase.

Some Turtles Such As Box Turtles Love To Dig 

turtle sitting in a hole it dug
Turtle sitting in a hole it dug.

They create burrows where they live. Even when not creating burrows, they will even dig for fun.

It is essential that the turtle can dig in the substrate placed in the enclosure if it is a terrestrial turtle or a tortoise.

Substrates that are great for digging include soil mix, coco coir, and crushed coral substrate. The substrate should be at least twice the height of the turtle.

So if the turtle is about 3 inches tall, then the substrate should be about 6 inches. Some excellent substrate choices for your turtle include Eco Earth, Bark Fir Bedding, Coconut Husk Chip, Top Soil, and Sphagnum Moss.

Taking Your Turtle Outside Occasionally Can Be Fun For The Turtle

Turtle walking through grass and clover
Turtle walking through grass and clover.

In the wild, turtles can cover large distances. They may appreciate time outside of their enclosure.

This can be around your house or even in your yard. Ensure that the temperature isn’t low when you take them outside the house.

You need to pay close attention to the turtle. You don’t want your pet to get lost or injured. If you get the turtle out in the house ensure that other people around the house are aware of it.

Also, dogs and cats have been known to attack turtles so be wary of this if you have other pets around your house.

Toys Are A Great Way To Keep Your Turtle Entertained 

turtle resting on a log in its enclosure
Turtle resting on a log in its enclosure.

There are many toys you can entertain the turtle with. If the turtle is an aquatic species, floating toys are excellent.

A floating log such as Zoo Med Floating Turtle Log is an excellent toy for the turtle. The turtle may even climb onto it and bask. Other floating toys you can use include rubber ducks, bath toys, floating boats, and a lot more.

Regardless of the toy you pick for your turtle, ensure that it is not an object that can cause injuries. It should not have any pointy or sharp edges.

Apart from toys that float in water, there are other objects you can find to keep the turtle entertained. One great example is an aquarium powerhead. This creates a current within the aquarium.

Turtles that are strong swimmers such as red-eared sliders and cooters enjoy swimming in this current. Other toys you can get for the turtle include treat balls, table tennis balls, and any toy that cannot harm the chelonian.

Turtles Enjoy Chasing Live Fish

long-necked turtle chasing fish in its aquarium
Long-necked turtle chasing fish in its aquarium.

All freshwater turtles and even box turtles are omnivorous or carnivorous. If the turtle is predominantly carnivorous or omnivorous then it will enjoy chasing small fish in the aquarium.

Fish that the turtle enjoys chasing include mosquito fish, guppies, and red minnows. Never offer your turtle goldfish as this can be toxic for them to eat.

Apart from fish, some other animals your turtle will enjoy chasing include amphibians such as small frogs, tadpoles, mollusks, worms, clams, snails, blackworms, earthworms, waxworms, mealworms, grasshoppers, crickets, beetle larvae, caddisflies, and mayflies. Ensure that the live animal you feed your turtle is safe.

It may be best to acquire these from herp pet shops. Chasing these animals is stimulating and provides exercise.

Turtles Enjoy Hiding 

leopard tortoise hiding under bark
Leopard tortoise hiding under bark.

A dark place to hide in makes the turtle feed safe and secure. You should have several hiding spots around the enclosure.

You can also provide plants that they hide in and around. Plants and other objects they can hide behind or inside are essential if you have more than one turtle within the enclosure.

You may not know it but turtles can harass other turtles. If there are places to hide, the turtle will feel safer.

Some hides I recommend include Reptile Rock Hide Cave.

Turtles Enjoy Looking For Treats 

turtle chomping on some cucumbers
Turtle chomping on some cucumbers.

You can hide treats around the turtle’s enclosure for it to find.

The treats shouldn’t be too hard to find. Also, enjoy you remove all foods that the turtle is unable to find. You don’t want the food to rot inside the enclosure.

Turtles Enjoy Swimming In Large Water Bodies

swimming slider peeking out of the water
Swimming slider peeking out of the water.

While it is unsafe you allow your turtle to swim in a stream, lake, or natural pond as they can be large and overwhelm your turtle or even carry him away, you can have your turtle swim in a larger water body such as an inflatable kiddie pool.

The water should be deep enough for the turtle to swim in safely but not so large that the turtle has a problem swimming. Supervise the turtle at all times.

Turtles Like To Play With Empty Shells 

tiny turtle among rocks and seashells
Tiny turtle among rocks and seashells. – Source

You can provide your turtle with an empty shell to play with shells, you can see them rolling the shell around the floor.

Printable Infographic

Infographic about what turtles do for fun
Infographic about what turtles do for fun

Frequently Asked Questions

What should you consider when making your pet turtle’s enclosure fun?

There are a few things to consider as you try to make the enclosure a fun place for your turtle.

Firstly, ensure that the toys you get your turtle cannot cause harm. The toys mustn’t have any sharp edges. Similarly, the toy you get your turtle shouldn’t be something they can get caught in such as a wire mesh.

Secondly, you ensure that the turtle has a lot of cover and hiding spots. Turtles enjoy hiding. So ensure you provide the cover they hide behind. You can also prove hiding caves for your turtle to hide within. 

Thirdly, do not move objects around the enclosure. Moving objects within the enclosure around often give the turtle the impression that it is within a new environment.

What are the best toys for your turtle?

There are a lot of objects that can be used as toys for your pet turtle.

Some of the best toys for your turtle include empty shells, small bath toys, balls, rubber ducks, colored tennis balls, shooting marbles, rubber practice golf balls, treat dispenser puzzle balls, bath toys that light up, and an aquarium powerhead.

Why is fun important?

You may be wondering why it is so important that your turtle have fun. Well, enrichment, which refers to methods through which you can make your pet’s life more fun and better, is essential as boredom can make your pet stressed and depressed.

Fun provides stimuli and ensures that your pet is not inactive and unhappy. Fun also provides the turtle with exercise.


Play and fun are essential to your pet turtle’s life. It is important that you ensure you enrichen your pet’s life.

There are many ways you can make your pet’s life fun and there are several activities. Here are some activities that turtles enjoy doing – basking, going through obstacle courses, exploring their surroundings, digging, playing with toys, and chasing live prey such as small fish. 

When setting up all these activities for your turtle ensure that the toys you provide for the turtle aren’t harmful.

The toys and objects within the enclosure should not have sharp edges that can injure the turtle. Also the toys you provide the turtle shouldn’t be so small that the turtle can swallow them.

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