7 BEST Toys For Turtles: Pet Turtle Toy Ideas For In And Out Of The Tank

What are the best toys for turtles?

Contrary to popular belief turtles do spend time at play!

They can’t be expected to thrive in a boring and empty turtle tank.

They do require some simple additions to enrich their environment. This will help them to live a long, happy, and healthy life.

When I first introduced my red-eared sliders, Mitch and Mildred, to some of these new pet turtle toys, they immediately engaged.

Check out this list and you’ll understand why!

Best Toys For Pet Turtles

Exo Terra Turtle Pebbles

  • Turtles play with pebbles like toys
  • Also helps protect the tank
  • Makes the tank look better
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Turtle Toy Floating Log

  • Great fun for turtles
  • A place for them to hide
  • Won't roll so safe for tank
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Live Food For Turtles

  • Turtles love chasing live food
  • Great for their health
  • Worms, crickets, etc.
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Zilla Turtle Chasers

  • Floating treats for turtles
  • They will chase and catch
  • Good for all breeds
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Turtle Hides And Games

  • Turtles enjoy playing in caves
  • These hides also provide cover
  • Suitable for most turtle tanks
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When turtles are deprived of opportunities for play, health issues can, and likely will, arise.

There are too many bare turtle tanks out there, with nothing but a shelf for basking (and sometimes, shockingly, not even that).

As a result, detrimental health effects have been documented in the form of:

  • Self-injury
  • Lack of appetite
  • General malaise
  • Reduced life expectancy

toys for red eared sliders

Just like any other animal kept in captivity, the opportunity for stimulation is vital to the health and overall well-being of aquatic turtles.

It doesn’t matter what turtle breed you have – red-eared sliders, box turtles, painted turtles, or something else – they all need something to entertain them to some degree.

Here are some of the best toys for pet turtles – even though at first glance they may not seem like toys!

1. Turtle Tank Substrate

Exo Turtle Pebbles

Although bare bottom tanks are simple to maintain, gravel or stones add much-needed mental and physical stimulation for turtles.

The benefits make it well worth the extra bit of effort to vacuum around when performing water changes.

Rocks should be added that are larger than standard aquarium gravel.

You want pebbles to be too large to swallow so that it is not a choking or intestinal hazard. A variety of shapes and sizes are also best.

River rocks are a perfect addition to large-sized gravel to provide a variety of shapes, colors, and textures for your pet turtle to enjoy. These rocks are available at most retail pet stores and garden nurseries.

Gravel that is especially for turtles is also available.

It’s perfect for allowing turtles to dig and forage, which is how they spend much of their time in the wild.

Also, simply add a variety of:

  • Shells
  • Rocks
  • Other textures to their environment

As these are some of the best and simplest ways to not only enrich the environment but also decorate the tank.

You can take this opportunity to customize your turtle’s habitat so that it’s not only better for their health, but fits in perfectly with your home decor.

2. Floating Logs For Turtles

turtle toys

Floating turtle logs provide a natural-looking place for a pet turtle to climb on without the stress of constant rollover.

Features include:

  • weighted to the base of the tank to prevent rollover
  • durable to last the life of your turtle
  • great place for your turtle to hide
  • made of easy-to-clean resin
  • looks like a real piece of wood

While a floating log doesn’t initially appear to be a toy for turtles, it really is!

Products like this are a good means of turtle enrichment. It’s something for them to investigate, to climb all over, and to hide in.

3. Whole and Live Foods For Turtles

live food for turtles

One of the very best ways to enrich the environment of any pet turtle, both mentally and physically, is to add live or whole foods.

For example:

  1. Insects such as mealworms and crickets, either live or dry are very much appreciated by pet turtles
  2. Grasshoppers are available in a can that retains the nutritional value of live food without the hassle
  3. River Shrimp is also a cheap and easy treat that’s a natural favorite across many species of pet turtles

These natural, whole foods will fall to the bottom of the tank and into the substrate you’ve provided.

This creates tremendously enjoyable foraging rewards that are high in nutritional value.

It also helps mimic their natural environment when they have to do a bit of work for their food.

Feeder fish can provide play and healthy enrichment as well, often for several days or weeks at a time.

If you have a large tank, then the trip to the store for a few goldfish is well worth the effort.

4. Pet Turtle Treat Toys

best turtles toys

Aquatic turtle treats are also ideal for enriching both the environment and the turtle.

Turtle Chasers, for example, are easy-to-use floating treats made of natural, healthy proteins. They are made to be difficult for turtles to grab and eat.

Most turtles will spend quite some time playing with and chasing the treat about their enclosure before consuming.

This exercise and bout of fun is surely a much-relished break from seeing an unchanging turtle tank environment day after day.

5. Caves and Hides For Turtles

best toys for turtles

Hides and caves are an absolute must for all turtles.

They provide a place for security, to evade possible difficulties with a tank mate, and, of course, are a source of great fun for our turtles as they forage about their habitat.

There should always be a place that provides seclusion and a sense of safety in all turtle habitats.

Hides come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors so take the opportunity to pick something that enhances environmental enrichment as well as their habitat’s appearance.

Turtle Toy FAQs


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A post shared by Brasya & her Friends (@happy_brasya)

What toys can my turtle play with? 

There is a great range of toys for pet turtles, from live food to rubber ducks (as in the Instagram video above).

As long as it’s not something they can swallow that they shouldn’t, or doesn’t contain harmful chemicals that could leech into the water, just try it out!

Do turtles like to play with things?

Yes, turtles enjoy playing with food and other decorative or more functional items that we put into their tanks.

It helps keep them healthy in both mind and body.

How do I keep my turtle entertained?

Turtles aren’t like us in that they need constant stimulation.

However, any of the aquatic turtle toys we’ve shared here will keep their minds ticking over.

Another tank mate can also be a good way to keep a turtle stimulated – though check if it’s recommended for your breed.

What do turtles like in their tank?

Pebbles designed for turtles are good, along with a cave and/or hide.

A basking platform is a must to prevent your turtle from drowning, along with turtle heat lamps and a filter.

What do you do when your turtle is bored?

If your turtle is bored, try out any of these great pet turtle toys.

If nothing else, you’ll get a good laugh out of watching your turtle play.

Best Turtle Toys For Tank

Those are just some of the great ways you can keep your turtles entertained and happy – and you see, there are a ton of different toys for turtles.

Anything that gives them something to do and keeps their minds active will be of benefit.

Check out the two turtles in this video playing with a toy ball. They’re loving it!

Also, to update you on this video, these turtles have since been upgraded to a larger tank with a larger basking platform.

Along these lines, ping pong balls and rubber duckies work well as a toy for turtles that can be chucked in the tank – just remember to remove it if they start to destroy it.

Have fun with your turtles and help your turtles have fun!


21 thoughts on “7 BEST Toys For Turtles: Pet Turtle Toy Ideas For In And Out Of The Tank”

  1. Yeah! cool toys for turtles.. but I can’t afford any of these toys and have no balls safe for my turtle. is it possible to create DIY toys for turtles instead? would it be a good alternative?

    • Hey Jacob, you can replicate a lot of these turtle-specific toys with items around the home. In the video at the end, for example, you can see the turtles playing with an ordinary table tennis ball!

      • My turtle tank is right by my kitchen sink and she watches everything I do and loves when I cook because she gets the scraps of veggies and fruit. She also likes it when I sing! A round stone is her favorite toy. Outside she feels vulnerable and runs off to the nearest thing she can hide under, however she likes being carried around the house to see. 😀

  2. Do you know where you can get the ball depicted in the first video? I’m trying to find something my RES can interact with in the tank.

  3. Do you know where you can get the ball portrayed in the main video? I’m attempting to discover something my RES can communicate with in the tank


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