In spite of being phylogenetically a fundamental group, there are not many studies directed toward the learning, cognition, and social behaviour of turtles. But what we do know is that pet turtles, much like any other pet, require both physical and mental stimulation in order to encourage and ensure a healthy and happy pet. Toys can serve as an enrichment to help make your pet reptile feel more comfortable, helping even the most introverted of pets to come out of their shell.
Turtles and tortoises both require toys for the same reason, however, the type of toy varies according to land and water preferences as well as the size of the animal. Although both species may not be as inclined to show enthusiasm towards playtime as let’s say their furrier pet counterparts such as dogs or cats, they still require interaction to prevent panic attacks, lethargy, loss of appetite, and even signs of self-harm.
By introducing toys for turtles that are beneficial and suitable, you will encourage them to stay active. This also engages their brain in an activity that goes beyond linking their owners with feeding times. Toys should be seen as an addition to providing your pet with a clean and safe environment that will inevitably lead to an improvement in your pet’s body health and lengthier lifespan.
Top 5 Toys for Turtles
- A turtle chaser is a great toy for your pet and will provide ample entertainment for your reptile. They are essentially shrimp treats that are difficult to grab, hence your pet will spend a significant amount of time chasing the treat around before eventually devouring it. They not only provide your pet with hours of fun but also serve as a nutrient, protein-rich snack.
- Floating logs are another great way to keep your turtle active and happy. These resin-shaped logs are made to mimic the look of real wood, which also serves as an attractive architectural feature in your pet’s tank. Turtles love to play around with the logs and enjoy using them as a hiding spot. Look for one with a weighted bottom so that the log does not flip over as your pet tries to get on it.
- Live food is a way of giving your pet dinner and a show. Most semi-aquatic turtles are used to hunting for their food, live shrimp, prawns, goldfish, and guppies work as excellent stimuli for your pet and it gets them to exercise in the process. As natural predators, turtles will appreciate the opportunity to hunt for their prey.
- Golf balls, but the rubber practice kind that golfers use when practicing their swing. They are safe to use and rather easily attainable. Due to their lightweight, they float and your pet will have fun swimming along with them. This will also provide great exercise and help to keep your pet at a healthy weight.
- Dog toy puzzle balls can serve as an innovative option for keeping your pet entertained. They are soft and stretchy which is perfect for inserting aquatic foliage like duckweed and water hyacinth. Keep in mind the size of your tank and turtle when purchasing one of these rubber toys, they may seem small for dogs but the smaller sizes work best for turtles.
It is easy to get overwhelmed with all of the options and some have pretty high price tags attached to them. When purchasing a toy for your pet, safety is paramount, so it is important to research and confirm that the material is not toxic to turtles and that there are no sharp points that could injure your pet. It is also important to keep the size of your pet in mind. If a toy is too big, it could intimidate your pet and make it difficult to play with. Each turtle will vary in regards to its personal preferences, so you might have to explore a few options and monitor your pet’s responses to each stimulus. This will allow you to find the perfect combination of live and interactive treats for your reptile. Always ensure that you clean and constantly check up and maintain the toys to avoid any bacteria from flushing and remove any breakages that could injure or be ingested by your pet.