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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

  9. Emily says:

    Does it mean I can let my baby turtle sleep with me?
    And one more thing if you let them sleep with you won’t they be dry in the next morning
    and do you sleep with the AC on or use a fan?

  10. Michelle says:

    Wow I thought I was the only one. I sometimes sleep with my turtle. He likes to sleep next to me and under a pillow. My friend & family think I’m crazy for this. My Johnny is a 1 year old slider that lives mostly in a 10gallon tank. Eventually I will allow him to walk around, but have to wait until he’s bigger due to 3 cats and 1 dog yes, I have a bit of a zoo going on here lol! Thank you for creating this page :)

  11. yuki sayasavanh says:

    Mr.turtle (very overused name i know) was in a poor living environment before i got him. the people covered his tank with a blanket and he was really lonely. When i opened the blanket up to see him in his tank and we first met and he followed my finger and i instantly fell in love with him and got permission to take care of him because his true owner wasnt living in the same city anymore.

    Mr. Turtle had an aquarium reflector light as his only heat and light source and by the looks of it he didnt get to explore the house or walk around. So i bought an aquarium filter and a little water heater for him and also the basking dock he had was wayyy too small for him i also bought him some better food he loved it more than the food they gave him . When i moved him to my house he instantly swims up to me in the tank or if i go to one side of the room hell follow.

    I have started letting him roam around my room after a lot of turtle proofing my room, ha. And he has been crawling on me alot , he tried to climb to the top of my head but i didnt let him and he would just take breaks on me while he found different spots of the room to climb on. He loves climbing. And he would want me to put my arms down for him to half go on while he was on my lap. i also prepared this empty book shelf spot that he can climb into from the floor because its on the floor and he is knocked out in there sleeping. Every one in my house says he loves me but im not sUre. Ive tried topet him but he still gets panicky.

  12. devin says:

    Thanks alot now My Mississippi map turtle Michelangelo lets me pet the top or bottom of his head

  13. Gabe says:

    To me I think that you really are a pro and you know how to treat those turtles very we’ll and they think of you not only as their owner but as their own or their mother 😀 great job and great advice and videos. I will now try these kind of things with my turtle, again thanks you!!!—Gabe

  14. nathaniel says:

    Hey i love these tips and i have 2 red ear sliders named jimmy and coco and i try hand feeding but they wont eat it unless i put it in the water than they will eat and i always call them by their names but they dont respond and i got them a month ago
    Please help me :)

  15. Mashaallah cute turtles , thank you for your advice

  16. Tee Boon Hean says:

    My turtle is laying eggs. Should i leave her in the water to lay eggs or should i bring her out.

  17. omg thanks cause I have a eastern box turtle that I really want to trane

  18. Kat says:

    So I got two baby turtles… One is a red eared slider and the other is a Mississippi map turtle. (I was told it was ok to mix breeds) anyways, my Mississippi turtle (shelldon) is warming up to me, swims to the surface when I walk close to the tank and it will crawl to me on the floor..

    Now ninja my red eared slider is alot different. I have never seen it bask when I walk up to the tank it swims to the bottom and away from me, I take it out of the tank to pet it and try to get it used to me but it just hides in its shell the whole time. Does nothing and won’t move. Any tips? I am kinda worried that I got a lemon (so to speak) or that my Mississippi is making the red eared uncomfortable

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Kat :)

      What happens to Ninja is the same with my Papoe. Don’t force your self, let it flow no matter how long it takes. I have Papoe for almost three years (this coming March is his 3th Gotcha Day) and he still hasn’t acted like my other two. He seems to warm up little by little in a slow pace but still far from how the other two turtles behave. It’s just like human, some turtles are introvert ;)

  19. Jaj says:

    Hi novroz.. I really need help..I have two RES male and one female..luka and loki respectively :) they are over a year old…I had to go out of town for twelve days so had given them to my friend to take care of..however, when i got them back, i noticed a white bump near luka’s right looks like a small pimple..he seems to still eat and bask and all of it..his appetite is not as good as before i feel…and i feel like that particular eyelid is a bit swollen…also, today while basking, i was sitting close to them and when i came close, he did this opening and closing mouth and swallowing action like as if he is trying to talk to me..he did that almost four times and then stopped..later i saw him sniffing down on the wooden pad he is sittng not sure if he tried to eat that and it got stuck in his throat and he was choking.. i love them both so much..i dont want them to have some RI .. please do help.. I have a picture of Lukas eye bump..cant seem to post it here…

    • Novroz says:

      I am sorry, I don’t know what that bump is.
      When concerning health, I think you should go to, they can really help you better than me. I always asks about my turtle’s health in that site too. I am no expert in turtle’s health.

  20. Patrick says:

    i have a female turtle her name is turtwig (the reason for the name is because i like pokemon) she’s a little older than 2 years so i want to know if this training also applies to my turtle, and really cool training site

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Patrick :)
      Sorry for this very late reply.

      Yes you can still apply it. I don’t know how old my Kurome when I bought him but he is already an adult by that time…and now he is the one that chases me the most

  21. anonymous says:

    Thanks for the advice, I’m envy you. I just had mine ,Rocky, 2 days ago, I already did what you told except for the sleeping things because my roommates is kind that afraid of amphibians. But the thing is my turtle is kind of lazy when he is in the aquarium but active on the outside. I still wondering why? May be you have the answer. Btw, rocky is still a baby , 1 and a half inch.

  22. Gennifer says:

    Wow I would just like to let you know that this was an awesome idea to post your experiences online. I have a baby tortoise and he has such a huge personality. There are so many different writings out there that say Torts and turtles are to be looked at and not touched, but in reality if you’re taking the time to have one as a pet why not make it an amazing experience that you both will enjoy instead of having your animal fear you.
    My tort (Leo) hasn’t learned any tricks quite like your guys, but he takes his bath in a bowl on the ledge of the tub with me, he loves to get sprinkled with shower water, then I wrap him up in a towel and put him under the blankets in the bed where he is warm and happy until morning. I had to wait to put him into bed until I learned not to roll over on him of course. My favorite thing that my tort does, when I have him in my lap he will crawl up my shirt onto my shoulder and perch up there like a bird, after a while I will tuck him into my shirt where he sprawls out in the warmth to sleep. It is so much more enjoyable having a friendly pet rather than a creature you have to try to mimic the environment to the “T”

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Gennifer :)
      Thank you for the compliment.

      I always think that when an animal has become a pet, we have to treat them with love like one of family members. Mimicking its habitat means that we don’t treat it like family member, then it is nothing more than a house furniture. Thank you for sharing about Leo :)

  23. Mayy Ann says:

    I think this article was very helpful. I love it, my turtle loves its and so does my sister. But I have a question. Does this article accur to Red-eared slider turtles?
    Thank you and I hope you write me back.

    • Novroz says:

      My turtles are red eared slider, reeves turtle and pink belly short neck … it works well with Red ear and reeves :)

      Still working on my pink belly

  24. Yaya says:

    Hey I have a baby Red Eared Slider it’s name is Russ. My question is how do you know if it is male or female. I also wanted to know if it is healthy if a turtle has a little yellow on the bottom of its shell.

  25. wobke says:

    wow that’s amazing!! i hope it works with my lovely tiny turtles :) but i have two questions, one is do your tanks have a top on it? mine is closed, does that make a difference? and two is i habe my turtles for i guess 3 years now and if i start training them now, does it take longer?

    • Novroz says:

      Thank you Wobke :)
      I hope it works as well :)

      Mine not…I don’ think that makes any different tho.

      It depends on the turtle itself. I had Kurome as an adult and he had been doing great since I brought him home

      • wobke says:

        pretty cool, but the problem is is when i open the top of the tank my turtles swim under something becuase there scared, i dont have a heater for the water, the only heatness comes from the lamp in the top of the tank, if i take that off, does it get too cold for the turtles?

      • Novroz says:

        Where do you live? I live in tropic so I don’t use heater and heat lamp…only UVB Lamp.

        He is scared because he doesn’t know you yet.

  26. Zee says:

    Hi! I believe that your tips will work, so I shall try thm out :)
    I already hand-feed my turtles, its just a case of them getting more friendlier.

    I was a bit worried that you let your turtles sleep on the fabric as turtles shouldnt be out of water for over 45 minutes

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Zee :)

      Where did you read that turtles shouldn’t be out of the water for over 45 minutes? They need water to eat and drink. You can still keep them alive out of water for a week, the turtle will eventually die out of hunger and thirst but not because its skin doesn’t touch water.

      My turtles sleep all night on the basking area even though I don’t take them out. They hardly ever sleep under water.

      When Kurome was hurt, he must be kept dry, he only touched water when he ate and drank, after that he was out all day.

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