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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. Wayne Schwartz says:

    Hi,i really like your opinion on turtles and it’s great, now I want to have another turtle,and keep them.

  2. Dragon King says:

    Hi i got a small indian roofed turtles from my brother. He is very aggressive, always bites me. Eats cucumbers and freeze dried blood worms and never eats the pellets i give him. When i hold him he scratches me and try to jump out of my hand. I need to pet him and be a friend of him . Any Suggestions ?

  3. Jessica Cole says:

    I have a western painted turtle and shes about 5 years old and she loves being held by me follows me atound and has never once bitten me she knowd when its time to be fed and everything. I think turtles are so missed judged and they are way smarter than we think

  4. Manasvi Singh says:

    Hiiii! I am Manasvi and I have 2 turtles 1 male 1 female well I had cause the female one ,lexi, died. I don’t know what happened but when I saw her she had a red patch at her neck. Can you please tell me what it was so my other turtle won’t die. I think that the other one is not happy, as they were very close. Please tell me what should I do to make him happy.

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Manasvi:)
      I don’t what that red patch is. Sorry I can’t help you much there.
      How do you know he is not happy?

    • bobcindyl says:

      Hi. The red patch could be from a bite. Males can get very aggresive with the females and will bite them, sometimes doing quite a bit of damage like removing skin or crushing. My female had a red patch on her throat and a large chunk of skin on the top of her neck was bit off. Sorry about your loss.

  5. NinJan says:

    I will try it:) does it also work for a tortoise?
    His name is Ninja

    • Novroz says:

      I never try it on tortoise…BUT I always believe that no matter what the animal is, if we treat them like part of family they will be part of the family. My father once tamed a Tokay Gecko which is something people rarely able to do

  6. Nashelly Martinez says:

    This is so cute!I do all of these things with my turtle and he’s been with me for only 3 years! I really enjoyed the videos!

  7. Sunaina says:

    My baby turtle’s is not eating and the climate over here is around 20 degree centigrade. I dont have any water heaters. I would like to know y my turtle’s not eating.its really a pain for me to see it in this way please help me.

  8. Tammy aka Myrtle Turtles Mom says:

    Thank you for sharing. I am in love with my Myrtle. Myrtle became part of our family just a few months ago, he or she, I can’t tell yet, but I refer to Myrtle as him. He was a little bigger than a quarter and has since day one shown so much personality. He never seemed shy and seems to be the sweetest thing ever. I always speak to him just like my dog Kozmo. Myrtle seems to like my voice and often acts as if he wants out of tank. So I bring him out for play time and tonight what seemed like cuddle time. It blew my mind because I’ve noticed Myrtle seems to like the top of his head rubbed and even under his lil chin, also shell rubs, especially belly rubs but tonight I sat him on my chest prepared for him to want to escape me and explore but he stayed put and just stared at me. After a few minutes of giving him opportunity to go and him staying put, I started caressing his shell in a light rub. He never moved a muscle. About 10 mins of my getting lost in television and still rubbing his shell. I looked down and his lil head was tilted down and sure enough I turned my phone screen light on him and he was sound asleep. It was the sweetest thing I’ve seen. I googled about RES and pettings and most everything I pulled up said they do not like being touched or handled. I’m so glad I’ve came across your sharing your relationship with your babies. Makes me feel like I’m doing something right and Myrtle may truly like me and his new home😉

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Tammy:)
      You are a lucky person!! Not all turtles like to be touched at such early age. I was very lucky with Kame and now you are lucky with Myrtle:)

      Just make sure that you provide everything that he needs and you will have the best turtle ever…not long, he will understand his name and can be called:)

  9. Kaneez says:

    Hey Navroz,
    I incidently acme across ur site and was really surprised that people do think that way. I have two indian star tortoise and they are lovely. My son has given them names. We all talk wit them cuddle wit them.its been 6 months that we hv them. I think they qre aroynd a yr old or so. M nt so sure of their ages. But they just love to eat whn we feed them by our hand most of they time and my sistr infacts talks to them and tells them’dont show.tantrum Pogo. Eat ur food urself ok’. Many ppl would find it funny that we talk wit them bt they undrstand us.and we undstnd them. They keep thr stretched neck on our lap n sleep. They take bath everyday n poop and eat n roam in the house.
    I.really appreciate ur human approach towards ur babies u know. Its realy vry affectionate of you to do ths. I showed the videos to my son n he was impressed too. He is 5 yr old n loves the pets.
    A very good job on that.
    Mqy god bless you. Give my love to ur babies:-)

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Kaneez,
      Thank you for sharing your lovely story with your turtles:) It’s always nice to know that other people are having same relationship with the turtles just like me ((hug))

  10. Lindsey Hale says:

    So obsessed with this blog. 😍 My turtle Ella is the sweetest thing ever. She is a box turtle and she is about a year old. She took a while to adjust but now she is out of her shell (so to speak)😉. Thank you so much for this.

  11. Madlee says:

    Greetings brother. I really love the way you care for your turtles. It really helped me a lot. Thank you so much and will be looking for some more suggestions.

  12. Carina Loures says:

    Hi i just got my turtle yesterday for my birthday she’s about a year and 3 months the salesperson said and i’m already a little worried we grabbed the biggest bowl ish thing we had because the aquarium wont be here till tomorrow but Yoda seems very stressed and wont eat anything we give we tried lettuce and 2 different foods but she wont even look at it i tried taking her out of her tank and sat with her in the sofa but she just hid and then suddenly tried to run ?.. Also was wondering if its okay for her to go in the garden when its not too hot or if thats dangerous for her ? Also how often we should take Yoda to the vet and when should we go the first time ? Thank you in advance i know its alot but i already care so much for her i’m worried i’ll do something wrong.

    • bobcindyl says:

      Hi Carina. Your turtle probably will not eat for a few days…don’t worry about it. They need time to adjust to their new environment. Look up on youtube for all kinds of information as well as here. As for aquariums, make sure you get a very large one so you don’t have to replave it later. You can take your turtle outside, as long as it is nice and warm….but stay with it because of predators and because they can take off faster than most people think they can. Constant interaction with you will show him/her that you can be trusted, but, do not overwhelm him/her with too much attention at first. Do not put gravel or small rocks that can be swallowed in the tank. It can be dangerous. Youtube has information with pictures on how to check the shell and underside for problems as well as ideas for basking areas different foods and lots of other things. Make sure you get a basking/heat lamp with UVA/UVB bulb. It is important for their bones and overall health. And get a cuttlebone for calcium. Just let it float in the tank and it will get nibbled on. I always keep one with my turtles.You can find them at the pet store in the bird section. Relax and ednjoy your new friend, you have many years together.

  13. Lindsey says:

    How did you get your turtle to follow you?

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