Through my research on turtles, I have stumbled upon a few videos and articles that encourage you to "tame" your turtle or even tell you how to do so.

Generally, reptiles are not the most tame pets to have, and they aren't big fans of being handled, and often become stressed out from that. The general guideline to taming a turtle is said to be accustoming the turtle to your presence or making a specific sound or movement before feeding.

One of the ways I've seen when taming a turtle is to put it in a small tupperware next to you while watching a 30 minute show or so. Other ways include just visiting or even handling it more until it gets used to your presence. Provided these methods work, it seems that stress through this process is inevitable. Personally, I'd rather not try this on my turtle since it's originally a wild turtle (I am now aware of the risks posed on the wild populations by having wild turtles, as well as the increased difficulty when it comes to caring for them. I definitely realize this so this'll be the last wild turtle I keep.) and its species is mostly known as timid and "would disappear at the slightest disturbance". I would point out though that some populations of this species have been known to hand feed from tourists or residents. My turtle itself is mostly timid and also spends a good amount of time hiding (I've set up multiple hiding spots for it). Let's suppose I "tame" my turtle, that'll be especially helpful for it when I visit to feed it, since then it wouldn't instinctively hide away, and wouldn't get stressed from my visits.

My main objective with my turtle really is to provide it with a naturalistic environment and diet. I care for no more than to see it thriving happily, and personally moved on from aesthetics since I know I can't afford to give it the best home and simultaneously make it especially appealing to the human eye. What I'm trying to say is I don't really care about taming this turtle, I'm just particularly interested in whether these methods are effective and whether the stress caused through the process is really worth it.

1 Answer 1


It all depends on what you want to get from your pet turtle. If you get happiness just from providing it with a happy habitat and seeing it go about it's day amicably, then your turtle should become well accustomed to your presence through normal interactions like feeding it and cleaning its habitat. It's just a matter of time.

If you get more happiness from interacting with your turtle it wouldn't be a bad idea to work in more handling to your routine. That way you will be able to touch and pick up your turtle with little stress. Keep in mind though that turtles have feeling in their shells, and while some enjoy being petted or scratched, others do not care for being touched at all. If you find that your turtle is one that doesn't like being touched, I'd definitely suggest refraining from touching it except for picking it up to move it as the unwanted touching will cause unnecessary stress.

One thing I would suggest, since your turtle sounds timid, is to work your way up to seeing if it likes being touched. The first step is simply getting it used to your presence, and especially so it doesn't hide when you approach. You can do this by simply standing nearby when you feed it. You're goal is to associate your presence with being fed. You might have to take a step or two back at first before it comes out of hiding to eat, but over the course of several meals you should be able to inch closer until you're standing right next to the tank while it's feeding.

Once your turtle is comfortable with your presence, you should be able to touch it, see how it reacts to your touch, and decide from there how much handling is appropriate in the future.

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