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9 Indoor And Outdoor Play Activities With A Pet Turtle

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Turtles are fascinating creatures. Their shells provide protection from predators. Plus, they also eat fish and a variety of other foods since they are omnivores. Essentially, this means that they consume most foods.

Turtles are reptiles, though their specific group is known as Testudines.

2 pond turtles sitting together

There are over 300 species of turtles worldwide. Some of them are endangered because of habitat destruction or hunting. However, some turtles can be kept as pets. This is because they are known to be harmless and docile creatures.

Though turtles make great pets, it is harder to play with them than with dogs or cats. Despite this, you can enjoy playing with a pet turtle indoors or outdoors.

In both cases, you should take care of its health and safety. If you want to engage your pet turtle with some fun activities, here are some of the best games that you can try.

Why Play With A Pet Turtle?

It is important to engage your turtle. You will need to do so for it to grow up healthy and happy. It is also good for you and your family. There are several benefits associated with engaging your pet turtle. These include:

Physical Benefits

Engaging your pet turtle helps improve its physical condition. For instance, it helps strengthen its muscles. Moreover, it also improves the cardiovascular system. Additionally, it makes it stronger. As such, it becomes more agile.

Also, it reduces stress levels. Though turtles require less exercise than other animals, it is nonetheless a good idea to keep them active.

Mental Benefits

Playing with your pet turtle also has mental benefits. For example, it makes your pet feel happier.

It also allows it to develop social skills. Furthermore, it helps it bond with you. This is advantageous for both you and the turtle, as playing can solidify your relationship.

Social Benefits

Finally, engaging your pet turtle has social benefits. For one thing, it helps build trust between you and your pet. It also creates a sense of belonging. Lastly, it helps you get along better with others.

Playing with your pet turtle can help you become closer to others. This is because it can teach socializing on a basic level.

If your kid is struggling to make friends at school, perhaps you should first get them to play with the turtle so that they build social confidence.

What Kind Of Toys Do You Need?

When it comes to toys, there are two main categories. The first category includes those that are made specifically for turtles. They come in different shapes and sizes. Some of these are available online.

Others are sold at pet stores. There are not a huge amount of toys designed for turtles, as they don’t tend to be the most playful of animals.

The second category consists of general toys. These are designed to entertain any animal. They come in various forms. Some are designed to look like real animals. Others are meant to resemble objects.

Regardless of what kind of toy you choose, it must be safe for your pet. Though some general toys can be used by your turtle, others will be targeted at other animals, such as cats and dogs.

Indoor Ideas

Turtle swimming in a tank full of fishes

Hidden Treasure

If you want to play with your turtle pal, one way of doing this is by hiding one of their favorite treats. However, it is important to ensure that you hide it well. Otherwise, your pet might eat it before you have a chance to find it.

Your turtle will need to rely on its strong sense of smell to locate the food. Ensure that they will still be able to smell the treat in the location where you have hidden it. Otherwise, the turtle will fail the game before it has even begun.

This game will test the turtle’s intelligence and senses, making it a very useful activity.


Another game that you can play with your pet turtle is hide-and-seek. In this game, you will need to hide something in an area where your pet will be able to see it. Once the turtle finds the item, you will then need to reward it.

You can use anything from a piece of cheese to a small toy. When giving out rewards, make sure that you do not overdo it. Otherwise, your pet may become too excited or full. Thus, they might not eat their meals.

The idea behind this game is comparable to the previous suggestion, so you might not want to play them too close together if you want variety.


Just like humans, turtles can benefit from participating in an obstacle maze. This game requires you to navigate through a series of obstacles. Your goal is to reach the end without getting stuck. Often, these mazes require a keen mind.

Turtles are renowned for being quite smart animals. Though they may be slow, they should be able to work their way out of the maze, given sufficient time.

This activity is incredibly popular. This is because it tests the turtle in two ways, namely, physically and mentally.

These mazes are super simple to make yourself. All you have to do is create a series of walls using cardboard, stones, or wood.

Then, place this inside a box. Use a treat, such as some sliced berries or lettuce, to lure the turtle to the other side. It could be one of their preferred snacks. This will give them a reward for their hard work. Plus, it will motivate your beloved pet.

Give your turtle plenty of time to figure the maze out for themselves. After all, they are renowned for taking a while to get from one place to the other.

What’s great about this game is that you can play it in the tank. Moreover, you can constantly change the maze with different layouts, enabling you to play it regularly. If you construct the maze yourself, it can also be quite a cost-effective game.

Go Fish

As mentioned earlier, turtles enjoy consuming fish. You may want to add some fish and other creatures, such as tadpoles, to your turtle’s tank.

They can also provide entertainment for your pet. Your turtle will be surrounded by other animals. Plus, it will give your turtle something to chase and eat. This will provide your turtle with some nutritional snacks.

You should not become too attached to the fish if you plan on playing this game. After all, it will likely result in the deaths of the fish. However, you can try to keep the number of fish low at first. This will help avoid any unnecessary stress.

The best thing about this game is that it does not require much equipment. You only need water, fish, and your turtle’s tank. On the other hand, not everyone will love the idea of feeding fish to their turtles.

Create A Cave

Caves are brilliant environments for turtles. Not only do they offer shelter from predators, but they also allow your turtle to hide away from the world. In addition, caves are cool places to hang out.

These are excellent environments for your turtle to relax. They enable your pet to have some time to explore. This is something that they would naturally do in the wild but are rarely able to do indoors.

You can purchase faux caves online, which are designed to be similar to their natural habitat. You can easily put these caves inside a tank.

Alternatively, if you want to save money, you can attempt to construct your own cave. If you do this, be sure to build lots of nooks and crannies for your turtle to investigate.

Outdoor Options

Turtle on a white wooden table

Water Games

Turtles love water. They spend most of their lives swimming around in rivers, lakes, ponds, and oceans. Therefore, there are many outdoor options available for you to choose from.

For instance, you can set up an aquarium or pond outside. You can also use a paddling pool if you prefer a more affordable option.

The options will enable your turtle to spend some time swimming. This will provide them with exercise and fun. The fact that they can swim around freely will also ensure that they remain healthy.

A Casual Saunter

You might want to consider setting up an indoor environment for your turtle. You could create a small enclosure where they can stroll around.

This will prevent your turtle from going missing while also giving them sufficient space. You can even make it look like a real garden. You can even walk alongside your turtle if you wish to feel involved.

If you decide to go this route, you must ensure enough room for your turtle to move around comfortably. It is important to remember that turtles cannot climb stairs. So, you will need to find somewhere that has a flat surface.

Make A Play Area

Turtles are used to being in different environments. For instance, they like to play in mud or sand. They even like being in locations filled with shells and stones. Therefore, you can create a special area for your turtle to enjoy.

You can either buy a specially made toy or you can simply use items that you already have.

For example, you can use a large box as a play area. Fill this box with sand and different textural pieces so that your turtle can play in it.

For instance, if you are able to get your hands on any stick, shell, or stone, be sure to place these objects in the playpen. Place this pen outside and watch as your turtle has tons of fun exploring this area.

A Day At The Races

If you have multiple turtles, you should consider racing them. You can do this by setting a track in your back garden. Then, place obstacles along the path. Make sure that the path is long enough so that your turtles can race each other.

You can also use toys, balls, and other objects to make the track interesting. Be sure to leave some tasty food at the other end of the track so that your turtle will be motivated to reach the end.

This activity is great because it is super straightforward to set up. Plus, it can be fun to watch your turtles race each other. If you have children, it can be great to get them involved. They can cheer your turtles as they slowly race toward the finish line.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are You Allowed To Have A Sea Turtle As A Pet?

No, sea turtles should never be kept as pets. The reason why is that they are endangered species. As such, keeping them captive is illegal. Plus, they are not suited to be taken away from the sea.

They live in this environment because it is suitable for them. Therefore, they cannot be kept as pets.

Is It Possible To Train A Turtle?

Yes, it is possible to train a turtle. However, you must ensure that you do not force your pet into doing anything. Instead, you should encourage them with positive reinforcement.

For example, if they do something good, you could reward their behavior with some leafy greens.

Final Thoughts

The list above provides you with several sensational options when it comes to indoor and outdoor games for turtles. These games are fun for both you and your pet. Plus, they shouldn’t be too time-consuming or expensive.

Hopefully, these games will provide the opportunity to forge a close relationship with your pet turtle.

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.