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Before I start saying anything, I should tell you that this is not the sequel of How To Train Your Dragon even though the poster is similar. Well, in fact, it is the same poster…I edited it a little ;)

This post is to share how I train my turtles to be the sweetest turtles in the world :)

I should warn you that THIS IS NOT A PROFESSIONAL ADVICE!! Some of you will disagree with what I have here so I need to point out that I always treat my turtles properly in my own way.

I know that some turtle owner thought that turtles are not to be handled, we only need to touch them when we are cleaning their tank or other cleaning activity. They thought that turtles are not used to be touched in the wild….well, my opinion is different to those people. I think that pets (turtles, cats or even dogs) will behave depend on how their owner react to them (although I hate using the word owner but this is an exceptional because I use this for general purpose). If you treat your turtles just by looking at them and then routinely give food to them…then, don’t be surprise if they will only think of you as their source of food.

I did different things toward my 2 lovely turtles. They are not pets to look at. As crazy as this might sound (at least for Indonesian people, this sounds crazy), I love both Kame and Kroten (updated: Kurome and Papoe too) as if they are my own babies. I show them I love them…and I know they DO NOT treat me as a source of food.

The reason to write this post is because I recently found out that my co-works also have turtles too but their turtles always try to bite them or hide their head when they want to touch them. They couldn’t believe when I said that mine aren’t like that. I show them pictures and videos and then they believe me. They even say “I envy you”.

Without anymore delay, here are How I Train My turtles: (toward Kame since October 2006 and toward Kroten since March 2008) (updated: toward Papoe and Kurome since 2012):

1. Give them names!!

Yes, they are only turtles, and yes, they are cold-blooded animal…but never assumed that they don’t need a name. I know at least 4 people who have never given their turtles any names, they thought that turtles won’t understand their names after all *rolling eyes*

Let me make it simple…THEY DO UNDERSTAND THEIR NAMES!!

2. Call their name every time you see them.

This act is to let them know their name and getting used of hearing it.

Both Kame and Kroten will look at me if I call them. I know they are not as smart as dogs and cats, but they often respond to their name.

3. Play with them

You might wonder how you can play with turtles. What games can they do?

The simplest one is to let them see something and let them follow it around. When Kame was still baby, I used to roll something at her and made her runaway out of surprise and then she started looking curiously at the thing. You can also let your turtles sniff on something. Simply said, just spend time with them.

4. Touch them

Now…I know this sound will get me scolded in … but hey, I have been doing it for years and what I got in return is incredible. They are so used to me and they will sort of ask me to hold them. Kame is the one who crave for my touch more than Kroten.

I let them climb my leg whenever it’s convenient for them. They often sleep on my leg or feet. They don’t even put their head inside when I touch their neck.

5. Hand-feed them

This is also against by many people because turtle might misunderstand your finger with food. Fortunately, it works pretty well with my turtles. Kame is the best, she can perfectly measure her distance. She can bite the food without biting my finger even though the food is smaller than 1 cm. Kroten is awful in measuring distance, she still bite my finger even though the food is more than 2cm. it’s because her eagerness to eat. However,none of them try to bite my hand when I’m not holding any food.

Hand feed can give a special bond between you and your turtles.

6. Let them explore the house.

I think this is a good way to make them feel like they are part of the family. It isn’t fair just to let them look at other people from their tank or their basking area. I like letting them out and roam around the house. I am not scared of losing them because they usually come when I call them.

7. Repeat the same instruction

If you want them to do something…do it again and again and again. I am glad Kame can shake hand or more like putting her hand on mine (see it in the last part of the video below). Both Kame and Kroten will extend their head and touch my nose with their nose whenever I let them close to my face. Kame can understand the word ‘naik’ (up) when I ask her to climb on my hand (see it in the video)…Kroten is still in learning process.

8. Let them sleep next to your bed once in a while.

Okay…this must be the craziest idea you’ve ever heard. This might result in losing your turtles according to some people.

Fortunately, I haven’t lost any of them…I put them on a piece of fabric and they will sleep till the next morning, they’ll wake up at the same time I wake up. And after that, the fun begins. They will chase me everywhere I go. I love that moment.

You might think it’s weird to let them sleep near me…well, people let their cats and dogs sleep on their bed….why would it be weird to let turtles sleep near me?

9. Show them you care for them

This last training is the most important one. Don’t just look at them and then feed them. You need to talk with them, spend time with them…basically, just show them you love them.

Kame and Kroten’s tanks are in my room…it’s so nice to see them raising their head and look intensely at me whenever I enter my room. I always rub their neck 1st and then do whatever I want to do in my room.

10. Take Lots of Pictures (extra  training)

This advice is only to make your turtle get used to camera. Both my turtles are natural narcissist.

Well…that’s all for today :)

Hope it will help your relationship with your turtles ;)

I don’t know if this would work for bigger turtle, I did this since they are very small. Kame is easier to understand because I have her since she was a bit bigger than 1inch, while Kroten needs more time to understand because I have her when she was already about 2 inches. (updated: Papoe is still very shy but he is getting warmer each year; Kurome is as easy as Kame)

And this is how Kame and Kroten behave :)

New video, this is Kroten and Kurome

To ask about things Turtle-ish that has nothing to do with training them, please click the image below :)

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About Novroz

I actively maintained 2 blogs. My personal blog is about things that I love: Turtles, Books, Movies, Music, Larc en Ciel, Muse, Cillian Murphy, The Mighty Boosh and many more. I also help my 3 super cute turtles, Kroten, Papoe and Kurome, to maintain their own blog:

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  1. sb2711 says:

    Omg….great advice. :D

  2. gopika says:

    Thanks!! My Tito used to think that my finger is food…i would tap his head when we would try to eat my finger and finally he wouldn’t bite!! I put both Tito and Mackie on a strict diet and gave nothing for eating to them for 3-4/days and when I Gabe them shredded carrot today they ate little!!! Thanks a lottttt!!!:)

  3. melissa ellis says:

    I loved watching you and your turtles. I have a baby box turtle that my son found in his dump truck under all this grass and debri as he is a landscaper. so I took her in and got on line and tried to learn as much as I could to help my tily (her name) be happy I am still learning but I think tily is happy

  4. Miguel Ruiz says:

    I like your tips I’ll try them out on my yellow belly slider.I’ll tell you if it works.

  5. nathaly says:

    These tips aree great!!! Thanks alot but do these tips apply to a 1 inch map turtle?

    • Novroz says:

      Thank you Nathaly :)
      It applies to all turtles…well the time needed is different tho. I have three different species of turtles and it works wonder in different pace

  6. Antara... says:

    When i saw this video i realised that we have everything about turtles common .. I too have 2 turtles .. Albert and Einstein … And they are just 6 months old ..

    And yes i do talk to them .. And play with them , and hand feed them .. I do everything that your advice states…

    My friends who have turtles . .. Tell me that turtles are just meant to be in tanks, but my thoughts differ .. Even they are meant to be loved .

    I was happy to know that there are people with similar turtles ..
    And i am really happy with their responsive behaviour..
    I hope that people who watch this video , start loving their turtles like you and i do …

  7. gopika says:

    Am back again lol…the problem is….both of my turtle are scared of each other sometimes..but I keep them in the same tub so that they won’t feel lonely….but sometimes they try biting each other and I tap on their head…but now when ever I try to hand feed them, they won’t eat out of my hands..😩😞..plz help

    • Novroz says:

      If they try to bite each other, the only way to do is to separate them. That’s it!! No other way. I am separating all my three turtles because of that

      • gopika says:

        I know…but they just play around..that’s what the vet had told…she had said” they sniff each other? Oh they are just playing…they bite, then you must seperate them…” I said OK…but Mackie just sniffed Tito and that won’t harm anyone of them..Tito is just a scared will take longer time to trust me..while Mackie trusts me and doesn’t get scared often…😳😘😝😎😋

  8. Jenny says:

    Omg I do all of these with my turtles! They are baby still and although people make fun of me for thinking that they can learn things I know they are very smart. Torpedo has learned to sleep on my bed and it won’t wake up until I do either. In the begging it would fall or get lost but now it stays. If he wakes up before me I have caught him staring at me until I wake up. Although Eli is very shy now it shows a little more affection too. I love my turtles

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