Red Eared Slider Turtle Training: Tips and Tricks for Taming and Bonding with Your Pet

Red Eared Slider Turtle Training: Tips and Tricks for Taming and Bonding with Your Pet

Image credit @ Petful

Red-eared slider turtles are one of the most popular species of turtles kept as pets around the world. These aquatic critters are noted for their striking look and interesting behavior, making them a favorite among turtle lovers. But like any other pet, caring for a red-eared slider turtle takes time, effort, and patience. Developing a bond with your turtle via interaction and training is one of the most enjoyable aspects of owning one. In this blog post, we’ll look at red eared slider turtle training: tips and tricks for taming and bonding with your pet, so you may have a meaningful bond with your scaly friend.

Can Red-Eared Slider Turtles Get Attached to Their Owners?

Turtles can get attached to the people who care for them. This does take some time, but turtles are smart enough to do this. They will get used to your sounds, scents, and behaviors. Turtles can learn to identify them and even pick up on the sound of their owner’s voice. But the interaction that is made is not the same as the one you might have with a dog as a pet. Several owners report that their turtle swims up to the water’s surface to welcome them.

Many red-eared slider turtle owners think that their turtles know their names and will come over or turn their heads when they are called. Turtles usually don’t like being picked up and petted. But you’ll find that some turtles don’t mind and might even like it.

Red Eared Slider Turtle Training: Tips and Tricks for Taming and Bonding with Your Pet

Red-eared Slider Turtles can be trained to identify their owners and even respond to their names. To tame and bond with your pet turtle, you need to be patient, consistent, and use training with positive attention. You can also build trust and a strong bond with your Red Eared Slider Turtle by giving it treats and being calm and gentle. Read and follow carefully the tips and tricks given below.

Tips: How to Make Red-Eared Slider Turtles Get Attached to Their Owners?

The best way to get along with your red-eared slider turtle is to spend time with it often and be patient. Turtles are shy but ultimately will relax around you. Here are some tips to make red-eared sliders get relaxed and attached to their owners:

Regular Observation:

When trying to teach your turtle good habits, you must keep an eye on it. Find out where in the red-eared slider turtle’s enclosure he is most comfy when he is most active, and what upsets him. These turtles often get scared when you move or make noise quickly. While you observe the turtle, stand near the enclosure and move slowly. This gives you a chance to watch the turtle as it gets used to your presence.

Food Association:

Feeding your turtle is the key to making a routine and building an association with it. Feed them at the same time every day so they can get used to it. Start by putting food in your pet turtle’s cage and watching it eat. Move slowly to let the turtle know you’re there without stopping it from eating. Gradually start trying to feed it by hand. Hold a piece of lettuce or another vegetable about 6 inches away from your red-eared turtle and patiently wait until he eats from your hand. If the turtle stays shy, try giving him live food or crickets to engage him and keep him distract him.

Tong feeding is one of the best and easiest ways to develop trust with your pet’s red-eared slider. Don’t feed them by hand, because they might bite you! Instead, use a pair of feeding tweezers with soft tips, which is likely to have a comparable effect. Use the tweezers to give them treats like bits of insects or cooked shrimp that have been canned. If you have a pond, getting your turtle used to being fed by hand is a good way to get it out of the water for quick health checks.

Petting Turtles:

Many turtles like to be petted, but they won’t let you do it until they get used to you. Work on hand-feeding your slider turtle until it is used to you and doesn’t mind being around you. Once your red-eared slider turtle is used to being fed regularly, touch his neck and head slightly while he eats. If your turtle retracts, stop and wait until you’re comfortable. Regularly petting the turtle will build positive behavior and lessen its timidity around people.

Build a Safe Zone:

Always create a hiding spot for your turtle, and never enter the hiding spot. Half-logs and commercially available shelters for turtles are abundant and provide a safe place for your scaly friend. Giving the turtle a hiding spot lessens its stress levels. As you interact and feed with the animal, he knows a safe space in the case of an attack. The hiding spot is relaxing, and staying out of it shows that you’re not a threat.

Minimize Interactions:

Turtles are not naturally very social, so you shouldn’t spend too much time with them. Do not disturb your slider turtle if it is resting or hiding. Don’t bother him till he comes out of his hiding zone to eat and interact with other animals.

Prepare Yourself to Handle Your Red-Eared Slider

Red-eared sliders are friendly – for turtles. They are smart enough to recognize their owners and will often greet them when it’s time to eat, but sometimes eat out of the palm of their hand. People don’t bother red-eared sliders, but they’ll bite if they are scared or handled roughly. So, you should learn how to use your pet slider. Before you can do this, you need to know how to prepare yourself for handling a red-eared slider.

Even if you don’t want to keep your Red-Eared Slider, there would be times when you have to pick it up and hold it. For instance, you will have to check their health, move them to keep their habitat in good condition and take them to the vet. In these situations, it is best to be well-prepared to handle them and know how to hold them safely. Think about why you want to pick up your turtle before you do. If you need to move the animal, you should already have the tools and carrier ready. And, if you need to look at their body as part of a health check, set up a safe place to do so with clean towels and surfaces.

If you’re ready for challenging handling, you’ll be more likely to be able to handle any situation, and handling will almost surely go smoothly. Don’t forget to wash your hands before and after it all!

Steps: How To Train Your Red-Eared Slider To Accept HandlingPrepare to Handle Your Red-Eared Slide

Step 1: Use The Right Treats

Find treats that are very valuable that you can utilize to reward your Red-Eared Slider while you are training it.

  • Sliders love prawns, which could be a great option.
  • Watch what your turtle eats to find out what they like most.
  • Don’t give these treats outside of training time.

Step 2: Be responsive to the signals your turtle gives you

If they stop eating, it could be because you handle them too much. At this step, give yourself more time between sessions and reduce your expectations of them. How your pet acts will tell you how well the sessions went. Trying to bite you, run away, or fight you isn’t a successful touch.

Step 3: Start small and have low expectations

At first, you are unwilling to try something big like petting your red-eared slider for 10 min on your lap! This will probably not work and may cause stress. Start with something simple, like letting your hand be close to the habitat.

Step 4: Rewards at the right time

Be prepared to give the reward as soon you notice a positive behavior, like coming close to you. Reward your red-eared slider turtle instantly, even if it looks like it came to you by accident. Do not give a big reward all at once. Break the treat into small pieces that are easy to eat at once.

Step 5: Have patience

Don’t think that your turtle will quickly learn that touching your hand means getting a treat. What seems obvious to smart people will take time for the turtle to understand. Even if your turtle improves in one session, it may regress the next. From the end of one session to the start of the next, reduce your expectations.

Tips to Handle Your Red-Eared Slider

It will be simpler to begin handling your pet if it spends time out of the water, sunning itself under a heat lamp. This is because they will be more relaxed, simpler to pick up, and drier. This is not always possible, though, so you might have to get them out of the water. It’s quite significant to know that the aquatic turtle’s body will be very slippery.

Their legs are also longer and stronger than you might think, and even a well-adjusted turtle will attempt to kick its way out of your hands when you pick it up. You should be ready to drop them off at this moment.

Tip 1: Don’t surprise your turtle.

Remember that you want to develop a bond with your turtle based on trust, not tricks. Get close enough that they could see you, but pick them up from above and behind with their backs to you. The reason is that if you put your hands close to the head, they might bite them.

Tip 2: Use both hands to give the turtle support from both sides by reaching under it.

Don’t be trying to grip the shell too tightly, since they can detect even the slightest movement of your finger on their delicate shell surface. The pressure should be firm but not overwhelming.

Tip 3: Spread your fingers out in front of and behind their front legs and around their bellies to stop them from moving forward and keeping them safe.

If your hands are big enough, you can also put the tips of your little fingers behind the back legs. The fingers go under the shell and the thumbs go on top. When you pick up your Red-Eared Slider, your fingers should never go between the top and bottom shells.

Tip 4: Minimize how long the turtle is up in the air.

Place the turtle gently on a surface, like a clean towel, table, or even your lap. Don’t let them go right now. Use your hand as a security net to stop them from getting away and falling.

The Thing to Avoid While Handling Red-Eared Slider

  • Don’t treat your turtle with a lack of care. Use both hands and pay attention to the task.
  • When checking their bellies from an upright position, tip them over as little as possible.
  • Never twist them all the way around in a loop, because this could cause the intestines to twist. Tip in one direction, then back in the same direction.
  • If possible, always tip front-to-back rather than side-to-side.
  • Don’t make hand movements while holding the turtle. It is dangerous to move the turtle around.
  • Get assistance so that someone could thoroughly examine the limbs and belly as you hold.
  • Don’t grab them by their tails. This way of handling something is a total myth and can cause bone dislocation.
  • Do not move your turtle suddenly or quickly.
  • Don’t throw the turtle back into the water or onto a surface. Put them down carefully and in a safe way.

How Much Should You Handle Your Red-Eared Slider?

Unfortunately, neither turtle experts nor pet owners can agree on a hard-and-fast rule. Some people think that Red-Eared Sliders should only be handled for medical reasons. Some people think it’s good for their turtles to go outside their enclosure and explore. The right answer is not always clear. But if you keep in mind two important things, you should be able to figure out the limits for you and your turtle.

Listen to what your turtle is telling you

If you adhere to the instructions above, you will be in tune with your turtle and able to respond to how it acts.

You will be capable of distinguishing between a good handling session, when the turtle is calm, and a bad handling session when the turtle is attempting to bite you or trying to escape. With these signs, the turtle is telling you to stop handling it.

Pay close attention to how the turtle acts in general and how well it is doing. Be aware of things that can change in the turtle’s environment, like the temperature, the amount of light, and the food it eats. If the only change is that you spend more time with your turtle, and it stops eating, this is a problem. You might be taking on too much.

Be aware of the Red-Eared Slider’s environment

This is something that depends on where you live in the world. It is hard and expensive to give a Red-Eared Slider a good home.

You work hard to keep the cage clean and make sure your turtle stays healthy. You keep a close eye on the temperature, humidity, light, and water quality.

So, you should be aware of how dangerous it is to take your turtle away from this great place to live. The turtle is most likely to get upset if it is exposed to sudden changes, such as a sudden drop in temperature. So, if you reside in a cold country and it’s winter, you might not want to pet your Slider when it’s not under its heat lamp.

But if you live in a climate that is similar to the Red-Eared Slider’s natural habitat, you will be able to handle your turtle more outside of its cage. Keep handling sessions short and positive for your turtle. In some cases, more than 30 minutes may be too long.


People all over the world like to keep red-eared slider turtles as pets, but taking care of them takes time, effort, and patience. A Red-Eared Slider doesn’t naturally want to be friendly or be held. You might decide that, as the owner of an exotic pet, you can live with these limits and only handle the turtle when you have to. This is a very mature and sensible way to take care of an exotic pet. If, on the other hand, you want a pet that doesn’t mind being handled or even likes it, you may be willing to put in the time and effort to build a trusting relationship with your turtle by adhering to the instructions above.

Do think about the fact that the Red-Eared Slider isn’t the best pet for you if you want a pet that you could touch and handle often. Think about what you want from a pet and choose one that likes the same things you do. By following these tips, you can give your red-eared slider turtle a comfortable and healthy home and form a strong bond with your pet. This article on Red Eared Slider Turtle Training: Tips and Tricks for Taming and Bonding with Your Pet Turtle is hopefully useful to you.


How do you bond with a red-eared slider?

You can get close to the turtle without petting it by letting it sit on your lap or crawl on you. Just keep an eye on it so it does not fall off. Turtles will pee on you if you pick them up, so be careful when you put them on your body.

Do red-eared sliders have feelings?

We call this “anthropomorphism.” In reality, turtles and tortoises don’t have as many feelings as people do. Turtles can and do fight with each other, but not because they don’t like each other. Instead, they fight to get what they want. For example, they will fight with other turtles if they want the same food or mate.

How intelligent are red-eared sliders?

They are smart enough to know who their owner is and will often greet them when it’s time to eat, occasionally even eating out of the palm of their hand.

What is a red-eared slider’s favorite food?

In the wild, they eat aquatic plants, small fish, and decaying things like frogs, dead fish, and other animals. Red-eared sliders will eat almost anything you give them, but if you want them to grow and stay healthy, you should give them commercial turtle food or pellets.

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