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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:)

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. Roro says:

    Hi. U remeber me? I have 1 turtle 7 months old now. Female. I bought a new 1 year and 4 months old. A male. Today I bought it. I think my 2 turtles r mating. The male (funky) always puts his claws in the female’s (tinky) face. What should I do? Should I put them in the same tank or no? U can check my instagram I have pics of them. It’s raghad_turtles_

  2. Becky says:

    This is such a great read and I completely agree with everything you said 100% except you said turtles are smart but they might not be as smart as cats or dogs. Well, my Oscar is just as smart, if not smarter then any cat or dog I have ever seen….lol. Oscar is a box turtle and let me say he’s far more then just a pet. He is part of the family!! Oscar has free roam of the house and yes, he follows me around, he sits at the refrigerator and begs for food, comes when I call for him, loves my attention and affection, enjoys car rides, comes back into the house on his own and sleeps in bed with me every night. If someone would have told me 3 years ago that I was going to have a turtle and he would become part of the family and have me wrapped around his shell….I would have said, your insane! I love my Oscar so much and couldn’t imagine what I would do without him. And Oscar is not the only turtle that is part of the family, he was the first one I got and now I have 9 more hard shell family members and I love them all dearly!

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Becky:)

      Thank you for sharing your story on Oscar:)
      I wish I can also have as many turtles as I can…but the space I have right now won’t allow me

  3. Kira L says:

    Hello, I absolutely love how you take care of and train your turtles. I recently got 2 hatchling pink belly sideneck turtles, and I saw you had one. I really want my turtles to be like yours, and I wanted to know what you did different from the red eared sliders, because I know they are way more shy. Please email me. Thanks!!

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Kira:)

      Thank you for the compliment.
      I am sorry I can’t email you as I don’t much time. Yes that species is VERY shy…I am still trying to make her get close to me. I didn’t do anything different to what I had done to my RES…it just need more patience

      • Kira L says:

        Thank you. And one more question- did you start any of your turtles as hatchlings, or were they adults when you got them? And would I do the same things with hatchlings as adult turtles?
        Thanks again!:)

      • Novroz says:

        I had Kame when she was still a baby, not sure how old she was at that time. Kroten was bigger than Kame when I brought her home. Kurome was already an adult while Papoe was a hatchling. I got them and trained them at different age

  4. Donna says:

    Just want to add that a male scratches the female’s face to begin the mating process.

  5. Jess says:

    Hi, i am thinking of getting a couple of turtles, i have a 3 year old who is so careful and loveing to all animals, id like a turtle he can make friends with and hold sometimes. Any advice on which kind is best? Thankyouu

    • jblaha68 says:

      I think that is great and I wished I could do the same for my young male turtle (we think he is 3-5 years old) but every time he sees himself in the mirror he wants to attack so we know in our case he is best to be an only turtle. Good luck I hope it works out for you and as far as what kind to get I will leave that up to the experts:)

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Jess,
      Any kind is okay BUT be careful because turtles carry salmonella and if your kid is still 3 years old you must assure he/she washes his/her hands after holding the turtle.

      Just an advice, avoid buying snappers as they are a bit difficult to tame

  6. Frank says:

    Wow I enjoy watching your videos.
    Makes me glad how much love you got for them.
    I feel the same about mines.
    I had mines for a little of 6 months. I’m not sure what sex it is. But I see it as a female. Anyways her name is turtle, and she’s always been shy or afraid.

    And your videos encourage me to play more and spent more time with her. Thank you so much once again for your what you’ve done.

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Frank:)

      Thank you for watching and enjoying the videos. I am glad you are encourage by it because more people need to know that reptiles are as adorable and as warm as furry animals

  7. jblaha68 says:

    I just had a question sorry if it doesn’t really fit in this post but I do have one male ornate box turtle named Norman who we think is anywhere from 2-5 years old. He is so sweet and loving with us humans and even seems to like my cats just fine but the few times we get him too close to the mirror and he sees himself he opens his mouth really wide and starts hisses and then tries to attack himself. I take it I probably shouldn’t have anymore turtles not that I was going to but was just wondering if there would be any paticular reason why some turtle do that?

    • Novroz says:

      Hi jblaha,

      I am sorry I can’t answer your question. Mine are just fine with mirror, they even thought they saw me in the mirror and chased the mirror. They never reacted to their own reflection

      • jblaha68 says:

        Thanks for your in put I am glad you don’t have any issues…it is kind of funny but at the same time I don’t want him to hurt himself when he rams into the mirror LOL

  8. lilly says:

    hi I have a turtle and he I still not as cute as yours

  9. Alexa says:

    Hi, so I have a red eared slider, and I’ve had her for just over 7 years now (she was probably around 3 years old when I got her) but I mainly keep her in a tank, occasionally taking her outside for a few hours in the summer, when it’s warm enough.

    I was just wondering if you have any concerns relating to salmonella or other bacteria when you let your turtles crawl around the house? Are there any special precautions you take, or is there any way that you clean up afterwards to eliminate the risk of contamination?

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Alexa,
      sorry for the late reply as I have been very busy lately.

      In the beginning, I felt concern with salmonellas and always washed my hands after playing with them BUT as years gone by, I became less concern of it. Human has antibody against bacteria so I guess I have developed antibody against salmonella because I have never get sick because of it.

      However, please don’t take my words for it because different human has different antibody

  10. Kimberly says:

    Nice turtles…I also started training my turtles after I read this website, It’s really cool. Say hi to Kame and Kroten for me!

  11. Rachel says:

    Does your turtle have to be train while it is still a baby or not?

  12. astera12345 says:

    Hey,i just got a baby turtle.So i bought a hatchling formula that’s so tiny and now i wonder how much should i feed them and how often?And do you know why my turtle is so scared of me ?

  13. Safiro says:

    Should I put them in the house when it dark

  14. Jess says:

    I just got a baby turtle called Jeremy yesterday and it already hates me (;-;) I want to let him walk around and bond with him, but everytime I walk in my bedroom he hides himself in his shell in the corner of the tank and I’m not sure if I can let him walk around on the carpet in my room (bacteria) as well as I’m afraid he’ll hide in my clothes and I’ll step on him and kill him! What should I do?!

  15. I’m so glad I found this! I am a new turtle owner and was would harm him by taking him out a lot. He’s still very little, about 1.5″. He’s a common snapper. How old was your turtle before you let him sleep in bed with you? I know he would run away right now if I attempted it! He has just started coming to the edge of the tank when he hears me and waits for food and follows me to whatever side of the tank will let him get the closest to me. By far the coolest pet I’ve every had!

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Cheryl:)
      Snapping turtles, most people said, are hard to tame…so nice to know yours seems to be tamed already.
      I let mine sleep on the bed when they are already a bit bigger and calm. When they were young I let them sleep next to my bed. Once they had stayed on the spot till morning then I can put them on my bed once in a while

  16. Rachel Lee says:

    Hey I was just wondering, how old your turtles are? Also how do you train your turtles to play games and stuff? Thanks!

    • Novroz says:

      Mine are now almost 8 years, almost 4 years and just turned 3 years old.
      It’s not really ‘playing’, I am just playing on their curiosity on stuffs

  17. aarohi says:

    hello my turtle name is tico. he is 2 yr old. i wanted to know can i make him sleep out for the entire night? usually he sleeps in water.

  18. Hey there, I”m a new turtle parent. We adopted Crash almost a year ago, she’s ten years old! But we’ve had a lot of trouble with with her. Besides, most likely, missing her previous Mom, she’s having a hard time accepting her new home. She likes to roam but tries to escape… We’ve had to replace several things in her tank because she’s destroying them! (Except a shark figurine I put in there… She just pushes it around) Do you have any ideas to placate her anger? get her to stop destroying her stuff? She’s used to being in the tank most of the time, as per her previous parents. We’re trying to replicate that as much as possible, but she’s just not accepting us.

    • Novroz says:

      I never have this problem before…but Kurome was a neglected turtle (she had his tail bitten when I got him) but he settled down easily with me.

      Maybe you don’t have to put anything in the tank for a while, let see what will she do if there’s nothing to destroy

  19. What types of turtles are they?

  20. Haziq says:

    I liked it…..i will try to train my turle too.
    But plz tell me is it necessary for my female turle to have a partner or female friend ..

    • Novroz says:

      Thank you Haziq…good luck:)

      I have no partner for all my turtles and they are doing fine. However, if you want to have enough space maybe you can give her a male partner

  21. Harsha says:

    I like your way of dealing with turtles.
    And here my question is,
    My turtle is so small,and it little bit nervous.
    Do u have any idea that what should I do in this kind of situation..?
    Thank you.

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Harsha:)
      Thank you.

      For small turtle and nervous one too, you can’t force your affection straight away you have to do it slowly and let it be less nervous first

  22. Klikmaus says:

    Wonderful read! I have two aquatics… Tina, a 9 year old Midland painted turtle I’ve had since she was a hatchling and Scooter, a 2 year old RES. Tina is very human friendly and loves attention so much she climbs out of her tank and follows us around the house if she doesn’t get enough attention. She likes being held, watching television, and plays “fetch” with a ping-pong ball. Scooter, who I’ve only had just over a year, is not quite acclimated and adapted to the domesticated life yet so he’s not “friendly”… but he hisses a lot less than he did when I got him and he doesn’t act defensively when handled any more.
    I am always winning arguments with self-labeled herp *experts* who swear a turtle can not possibly have social interaction with a human beyond “food source” as that level of socialization characteristic is of higher mammal intelligence. And to attest to a turtle’s memory… outstanding! Tina’s tank was invaded by a neighbors dog a few years ago and the dog took Tina out of her outside enclosure, I thought she was killed, eaten, something… she was gone. A year later while I was outside in the yard sitting in a lawn chair playing guitar, I felt something clawing at my leg (which I almost stomped on instinctively ). Good thing I didn’t as it was Tina trying to climb up my leg! A YEAR AFTER SHE DISSAPPEARED!!! Thankfully the neighbors dog is no longer a problem, not long after it got a hold of Tina I caught the problematic curr killing my OTHER neighbors chickens and promptly shot the dog dead at the request of the owner of the chickens. Unfortunate for the dog it’s owners were irresponsible pet owners but it’s not the burden of the community to contend with idiot junkies who can’t properly care for their animals. (In one year they went through three dogs, two donkeys, and countless cats before they finally stopped bringing animals home).

    • Novroz says:

      Thank you for sharing your wonderful story Klikmaus:)

      I am so happy to know that Tina came back and still remembers you:)

      People who don’t know how to take care pets shouldn’t have pets…ever

  23. Paige says:

    do you feed them vegetables often? if so what kinds? my turtles usually refuse to eat any other veggies other than carrots and lettuce, thanks:)

  24. Tasnim Zia says:

    What about salmonella?

  25. Brinley says:

    I’m looking into getting a red eared slider turtle, but I’m not sure what kind of tank I would need. What kind of living environment do they need? Also about how much would it cost to get it all set up?

    • Novroz says:

      You can do a bit of youtube-ing for that. There are a lot good set up there. Can’t help you with predicting the cost because we’re not from the same country

  26. Santi says:

    Uh I’m not sure if my turtle is eating cause I try to feed it nothing happens he dosent eat it second I’m not sure if it its in the garden cause it puts his head on the dirt and stays there so what should I do

  27. Mandhan_mj says:

    That was so helpful
    I will also try with turtle he also get scared when i touch him….

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