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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 redearslider.com … 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: https://kamekroten.wordpress.com

1,041 responses »

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  1. Hadiza Abdullahi says:

    My turtle don’t like eating but drinks only water am confused pls tell me what to do..tnx

  2. Tim Johnson says:

    what happend to Kame? =(

  3. Lori Jaffe says:

    Thank you so much . I have been doing alot of those things but it is nice to have them affirmed !!
    Thanks again 🐢

  4. Megan Sheard says:

    Hi! I’ve had my RES for 5 years. He eats out of my hand already and always gets excited whenever I’m near his tank. Is it too late to teach him the other things? Because he is still very shy when i touch him or pick him up.

  5. Scorpion Man says:

    Turtles suck, get a scorpion.

  6. great swipe says:

    My turtles bite my fingers always :// thinking its a food? dunno :!

  7. Robert Alexander says:

    How do you keep up with making sure salmonella doesn’t become a problem?

    • Novroz says:

      Wash my hands after I handle them…plus I believe in antibody, I handle them for years so I my body has developed antibody against salmonella as I have never had problems with salmonellosis

      • Robert Alexander says:

        Well I was mainly asking about when you bring them to bed with you,but I do suppose you are right in that eventually you may build up anti-bodies to help protect you just as the turtles build up some to protect themselves from what you give them.

      • Novroz says:

        Ah…I see!!
        Actually, I don’t put them on my bed often…they stay on their on ‘bed’ next to my bed

  8. ur1994 says:

    i wanted an advice.. i m from india nd i hav a local turtle.. i initially kept it with fishes in an aquarium. bt after a month it strted to eat my fishes.. so i separated it and kept in a tub.. nw i want to build an indoor pond nd hav my turtle and fishes together.. hw cn i arrange such thing… and plz also suggest me wat vegetarian items i cud feed my turtle..

  9. Sam says:

    My turtle is very shy. I feel as though it’s mostly my fault. I’ve had her, Leslie, for around 4 years now. When I first got her she was very social and enjoyed playing. I let her climb around on my bed and I handled her almost everyday, or whenever I had chance to. I started working and getting busy and haven’t had time to handle her and play with her. She gets very aggressive when I take her out to clean her tank and hisses and tries to bite me. After I clean her tank she seems very agitated and nervous when she’s put back in. I know she knows her name, she looks whenever I say it and when it’s food time I shake the bag of food and she gets excited, but she doesn’t seem to like me anymore.😦 Is it too late for me to bond with my turtle again even though she’s become very aggressive and anti social? Any tips?

  10. bobcindyl says:

    Novroz, thankyou so much for this blog. And for making sure to respond to others in need. It is helping many people. You are a good person.

    • Novroz says:

      Hi Bob…
      Thank you for always helping out by answering some questions as I am very busy now. I wish I can give response as fast as I used to, but I have little human to take care now.
      You are also a good person Bob🙂

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