8.4. Turtle & TurtleScreen

Turtles must exist on a TurtleScreen to be used. This is a significant difference from Python, as you are required to create your own screen before creating a Turtle object.

ct::TurtleScreen screen;
ct::Turtle turtle(screen);
//Notice how the Screen is given to our Turtle when we create it.

Closing a TurtleScreen works exactly how it does in Python. For this chapter, only bye is used. Calling it is not completely necessary, as it is also called automatically if it, or an equivalent method, hasn’t been called. When working outside of the textbook, the exitonclick method is also available.


Turtles are based on the following premise: “There is a turtle on a canvas with a colored pen attached to their tail.” In this case, the canvas is a TurtleScreen. This Turtle will follow any command you give it, which consist of telling it to go certain directions, what color of pen to use, when to raise or lower its pen, and others. Below is an outline of commonly used methods when working with turtles.

Method Name



turns the turtle a certain number of units to the left.


turns the turtle a certain number of units to the right.


raises the paint pen on the end of the turtle’s tail.


lowers the paint pen on the end of the turtle’s tail.


tells the turtle what color the inside of the shape will be.


tells the turtle to begin filling a shape as it moves.


tells the turtle to finish filling the shape it has created as it moved.


tells the turtle what color it will draw with.


tells the turtle how large of a paint pen to use.


tells the turtle how fast it should go, faster or slower than the hare.


moves the turtle back a number of units.


moves the turtle forward a number of units.


tells the turtle to move to a specific coordinate.


tells the turtle to write some kind of text.

Many of these methods are used alongside one-another to create different images. All of the speed settings you may be familiar with from Python are also available in CTurtle. All speeds are measured on a range of 1 to 10, the latter being the fastest and the former being the slowest. The exception is the fastest speed, TS_FASTEST, which is set to 0 just as it is for Python’s equivalent "fastest". The TS prefix represents “Turtle Speed”.

Python Turtle Name

C-Turtle Name

















Consider the following annotated example.

The expected output would be a purple square in the center of the turtle’s canvas. If you have experience with Turtles in Python, a lot of what you see in the example should look familiar. If not, don’t worry! It will all be covered in this chapter.

The order of operations given to a turtle is important, as some actions must be completed one after another. A good example of this is the begin_fill and end_fill pattern, which must be called in that specified order to actually fill a shape.

Construct a program that fills a green triangle using begin_fill and end_fill using the example code above as a guide.

There are 14 commonly used methods for Turtles. Many of them have names that indicate what they do. See if you can match each method description with their names!

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