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Any pet can be a companion, but needless to say that some are more interactive than others. When it comes to providing toys and entertainment for our pets, animals such as cats, dogs, hamsters, and rabbits enjoy playing with a variety of things such as balls, wheels, and soft toys. But what about pet tortoises? You may be asking what you can give your tortoise to play with or indeed if you actually need to provide toys for it at all?
Do Tortoises Like to Play?
Do these reptiles actually need things to play with, though? Well, when it comes to pet tortoises, what you give it for entertainment should be all about ensuring its mental well-being. Offering up toys and other entertainment-type items for tortoises will obviously be different to providing the same for a dog or cat. After all, tortoises do not fetch things or chase toys about the garden. Nevertheless, what you can do is offer items that will enrich your pet’s life by stimulating its senses.
What Do Tortoises Like to Do?
It is important to consider what tortoises like to do in the wild. Walking about and exploring are the main ways that tortoises occupy their time in their natural habitat. In fact, despite being rather slow creatures, tortoises can walk for miles on end when in the wild.
It is pretty obvious that you cannot create a habitat that would allow your tortoise to walk for miles in any one direction, but you could change its enclosure around every so often. Doing so makes it appear like a new environment. The best way that this can be done is using a variety of hides and obstacles that the tortoise can climb on. By intermittently changing the position of these things, your tortoise will have a ‘new’ area to explore, which will help to challenge it mentally.
When placing climbing mounds and obstacles in the enclosure, make sure they are not too high and that they are not too close to the sides. Otherwise, you could find your tortoise over the wall of the enclosure going walk-about or flipped upside down inside the enclosure.
Captive tortoises also like to move things about. You can place items inside the enclosure that your tort can push and shove around. Large dog and cat toys work well and can offer plenty of entertainment for your tortoise. However, be sure to always supervise your pet so that it does not manage to bite any parts of the toy, as this could be a choking hazard.
Top Toys for Tortoises
Below is a list of toys and other items that could entertain your tortoise:
- Large flat rocks are great for tortoises as they provide places for them to climb and sleep on. See here at Amazon (opens in a new tab).
- Larges pieces of wood and logs also make for perfect climbing opportunities for tortoises. See here at Amazon (opens in a new tab).
- A pile of gravel or small rocks make for an ideal digging spot for your pet. Nevertheless, make sure that these rocks are not small enough for your tortoise to swallow.
- Hides can be bought online or at a local pet store. You can also make your own. Some people like to use plastic plant pots raised up on one side while others prefer to lie these pots on their side. If you lift one side of the plant pot up and balance it on a flat rock, you can place a plate of food underneath. Tortoises like to flip up the pot to reach the food underneath. You can also use cardboard boxes as hides for your pet. See here for a range of hides at Amazon (opens in a new tab).
- Tortoises are food obsessed and if you want to get your tortoise moving, using food to entice it is a great idea. Some people use Kong toys and chews (typically designed for dogs), as treats such as tortoise candy can be placed inside.
- Rubber balls are also great toys for tortoises. Many tortoise owners say that their reptiles love to move balls about in their enclosure.
While most people would not associate tortoises with toys, these reptiles have their own way of playing. They enjoy digging, pushing items around, and exploring. There are many ways of enriching your tortoise’s life and providing items for it to play with will do this. Things such as hides, climbing obstacles, and treat toys can be purchased online or at a reputable pet store.
- Featured Image (Leopard Tortoise): Bernard DUPONT – CC BY-SA 2.0
- Gopher Tortoise: Andrea Westmoreland – CC BY-SA 2.0