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What Sound Does a Turtle Make?

What Sound Does a Turtle Make?

Turtles are reptiles that live in freshwater habitats. They have a hard shell on their back and four webbed feet for swimming. Turtles come in many shapes and sizes, though the most common is the box turtle. When turtles feel threatened they pull their head and limbs into their shell to protect themselves from predators, but do you know what sound a turtle makes?

Do Turtles Own Any Vocal Cords?

Turtles were previously thought to lack vocal cords. The larynxes of three tortoise species were examined and two elastic bands of fibrous tissue were discovered, which the researchers believe are vocal cords.

So what does a turtle sound like? Unfortunately, we don’t yet know! Scientists are still trying to figure out how exactly the vocal cords work and what sounds they produce. It’s possible that different species of turtles make different sounds, or that males and females make different sounds. Stay tuned for future updates!

They aren’t comparable to mammalian voice chords, but they are capable of vibrating and making noise [1].

Do Turtles Own Any Vocal Cords?

Do Turtles Chat With Their Owners or Not?

Turtles are unable to communicate with humans, according to scientists. Physical signals are all they have in common. However, it’s possible that different species of turtles communicate with each other in ways veterinaries don’t yet comprehend.

Humans are able to interpret the postures and movements of reptiles as communicating their moods or desires (e.g., “hungry”) by using our knowledge about these animals’ natural history

When a turtle’s owner is detected, it may hiss. This sound comes from the involuntary action of a turtle curling up into its shell.

Some turtle keepers claim that their creatures make noises to express needs or emotions. For example, a hissing sound when someone comes close may mean the turtle is scared, while loud grunting noises may indicate that the turtle is angry.

Many turtle owners believe that their pets can learn to respond to their names.

Why Do Turtles Make Noise?

Turtles may voice a variety of reasons, including fear and intimidation while hunting food and even during play. Turtles make sounds of low grunts and low-frequency noises to entice mates. The only time a human can hear a turtle making noise is when it makes mating calls while mating. The only sounds we can hear without the use of external listening devices are turtle courtship songs [2].

Why Do Turtles Make Noise?

Pet turtles may hiss when they’re scared, grunt while eating, and even make a burping noise after their meal. They can be loud or soft depending on the turtle species and its mood. Some of these animals never vocalize at all, which is why it’s important to know what your particular pet does if you want to learn its unique sounds.

Can Pet Turtles Hear Any Sounds?

Turtles were regarded as deaf and mute for a long period of time. They don’t have an external ear or a voice cord, according to previous beliefs. They have a thick membrane in their inner ear that aids them with hearing, despite having an external opening.

Turtles are able to hear a wide range of frequencies, which helps them communicate and detect predators. They can also sense vibrations in the water, making it easier for them to find food.

According to the researchers, turtles have good hearing. In low tones, they can hear sounds that are less than 1 kHz in frequency. Turtles, like other reptiles, have poor hearing in the air. Their hearing is improved in water [3].

The Variety of Sounds That Pet Turtles Can Make

These pets can make a variety of sounds, including “chirps, clicks, meows, and clucks”. Turtles make noises as they hatch to help them get together. Some turtles produce sounds by gulping or breathing out, while others create distinct noises.

The Variety of Sounds That Pet Turtles Can Make

The noises that turtles make depend on the species and its environment. Turtles living in a noisy area, like a city, would likely make louder sounds than those who live in a quieter setting.

Different types of turtles can produce different sounds – from low grunts to loud grunting noises.

It’s conceivable that they’re making a series of clucks or a high-pitched scream that sounds like an electric motor and looking for partners. Others, on the other hand, are known for howling like a dog when startled or being attacked [4].

The following are the most frequent noises a turtle may make:


Turtles hiss by blowing out air from their lungs. When a turtle retracts its body into its shell, it hisses. There isn’t much more room in a turtle’s shell! The lungs must collapse for the entire body to fit inside the shell. As a result, the air is vented and produces a hissing sound as it escapes through the hole. Consider if you had a punctured tire that released air. It would hiss in a similar way.

The sound of a tortoise’s breathing might be similar to a hiss. Turtles that are suffering from respiratory illness may make a hissing sound while attempting to breathe.


Turtles make grunting noises when they eat or sometimes during mating. The sound is usually low and gravelly, and it’s made by the lungs and throat muscles working together. Grunting is hissing with a deeper, shorter sound. They’re often caused by the same physical response as breathing out air. Grunts are lower and longer than hisses. They’re more likely the effect of allowing a larger amount of air to escape at once.


Breathing Out

When turtles breathe out, they often make a bubbling noise because of the vibration of air passing over their vocal cords. This noise is especially common after eating.


Turtles can burp after they eat. The sound is caused by gas and fluid from the stomach passing through the esophagus and out the mouth.


In rare cases, turtles will cough just like people do. It’s usually because they have a respiratory infection.

Hissing Sounds With Heavy Breathing

The snappers’ hissing with deep breathing indicates a bad mood. The sound of the snappers making this noise before attacking their opponent is well known. Most turtle species make this sound when enraged.

If a turtle does not have enough space to move about, adequate food, or a suitable living situation, it can develop an aggressive temperament. If your turtle is hissing and panting heavily, leave him alone for a few moments. Pets other than the turtle should be kept at a distance. Then you can proceed to solve the problem that is causing concern in your turtle [5].


The clucking noise is a result of the tongue snapping against the roof of the mouth. The sound is made by both male and female turtles. It’s not entirely clear what this noise means, but it could be a warning or an invitation to mate.



Some pet turtles meow when they want attention from their owners. The sound is usually a high-pitched trill that lasts for two or three seconds.


Turtles make clicking noises when they’re startled, threatened, or trying to attract mates. Clicks are rapid sounds that are produced by the tongue hitting the roof of the mouth multiple times. In some cases, these clicks can be heard up to 50 feet away!


Respiratory disease is usually the cause of a turtle’s wail. Inadequate airflow is hindered by excessive mucus in the airways. Consider how airflow sounds different when you whistle. A turtle’s cries might also be mistaken for tiny meows.


While the turtles’ roars are largely similar, their vocalizations are a poor imitation. When they detect a danger, big-headed turtles make a sound that resembles roaring. This noise is used to terrify off predators or rivals and for self-defense. The researchers have discovered that Arrau turtles, also known as huge Amazon river turtles, use this sort of echolocation to communicate with each other.

They’re letting everyone know that they’ll be nesting together. They’ll do the same thing when you go back to the river.



Turtles do not produce the same song as birds, but they may match the chirping sound. Turtles don’t have vocal cords, so rubbing the top beak against the bottom beak creates this sound. Stridulation is the term used to describe it. Nobody knows why a turtle stridulates, but many turtles make sounds on occasion, including box turtles and red-eared sliders.


One of the most frequent claims is that snapping turtles (for example, Chelydra serpentina) make a low gurgling sound. When a pet owner believes his or her turtle is hungry, he or she makes this sound [6].

Cardinal singing

No, the turtles do not sing. During the breeding season, American snake-necked turtles have been observed to vocalize according to a study. These turtles produce a series of beats in a burst of rhythmic sounds. It sounds like someone is singing rhythmically.


Dogs are naturally inclined to Yelping. When they are in discomfort, they yelp. This is a high-pitched, quick-witted sound. Not all turtle species yowl. When attacked or startled, the huge musk turtles produce this sound, which has been compared to a scream.


It is important to trust me if your turtle whistles just like us humans and, with a closed mouth, it’s not ideal. Turtles have a whistle as an indication of respiratory disease. Check for white residue around the neck, mouth, or nose discharge; breathing difficulties, and an altered appetite. As soon as possible, take your pet to the veterinarian.

Many reasons may be given for why a turtle vocalizes. They do it to communicate with one another and express their feelings. A turtle does not usually make much noise on its own. However, if your pet’s noise level is increasing, you should investigate the situation.

Humans are generally unable to hear the noises made by other species because they are in low frequencies. The hatchlings communicate together during excavation and foraging for help.


When a hissing noise is emitted from your turtle, it usually indicates that something is wrong with his care. The whistling sound is also an indicator of respiratory infection. You must pay attention to these tiny things in order to understand your turtle and offer it better care.

Major Reasons of Turtle Vocalizations:

1) Illness

Turtles make a variety of noises when they have respiratory illnesses or other problems. When their lungs are infected, the animal must breathe rapidly to stay alive. Chirping or gurgling noises are made as a result of this action.

Excessive mucus production in their respiratory systems will produce distinct noises. If your turtle makes loud howls and shrieks, it is almost certainly suffering from an illness [7].

2) Threat Display

The angry roar of a big-headed turtle is a serious worry. They use the sound to repel potential attackers, including people.

Turtles do not hiss to threaten or express anger, contrary to popular belief. A hissing turtle is typically a frightened turtle. They’re trying to hide in their shell, not pursue and bite you!

Snapping turtle species hiss as a result of rapidly extending and retracting their neck to snap. While the hiss isn’t itself dangerous, it is the consequence of this turtle’s aggressive behavior.

3) Territorial Disputes

The same hissing noise might be emitted by turtles engaged in territorial disputes. This sound is once again the consequence of the animal’s movement and breathing mechanism. Turtles are frequently involved in territorial confrontations beneath the sea. In these situations, you won’t be able to hear any of their noises.

Territorial Disputes

4) Eating

Turtles and tortoises make little squeaks, grunts, and sighs when eating. These noises are a sign of the turtle’s enthusiasm! When a turtle rapidly moves its head to obtain a bite to eat, air escapes from its lungs.

Turtles belch as a result of eating air while feeding. A turtle’s belch has its own distinct sound; there are no words to describe it!

If the front door won’t allow the air to escape, it’s only a matter of time before it escapes from the rear! Flatulence is something that tortoises are known for.

5) Mating

Turtles, like all animals, must copulate to give birth and pass on their species. Turtles must mate in order to produce offspring that will later hatch and survive without the need for assistance. The sound of turtles mating and hatchlings emerging from their shells are both linked to certain noises.

The turtle mating noise that researchers have been able to identify is difficult to describe but has a repeating cry while the turtles are reproducing. The inhabitants of several map turtle species have been observed producing such low-frequency mating noises that they can’t be heard by humans alone [8].

6) Nesting

When nesting, mature female sea turtles make a range of grunts, pants, and sighs. Laying eggs is a draining endeavor. Consider the fact that a sea turtle’s body wasn’t intended to move efficiently on land, much alone dig an entire nest hole! It’s no surprise that these weary females vocalize throughout the laying process.


7) Baby Communication

Turtles may chirp to synchronize hatching and excavating efforts, according to researchers. The fascinating part of turtle vocalization and communication is the hatchling (and even early) turtles.

8) Social Communication

The pig-nosed turtle is said to be a social species. They often perform social eating, thermoregulation, and reproduction. To communicate with one another, scientists observed captive and wild pig-nosed turtles making at least three distinct sound types.

Do All Turtles Make Noise:

1. Alligator snapping turtles

Snapping turtles are well-known for their aggressiveness. If they detect any danger, these creatures are quick to snap and aggressive.

When startled, they make loud hissing noises. Their snapping sounds are also quite audible. You may hear them clicking and making gurgling noises as well.

2. African side neck turtles

African side neck turtles are typically quiet, but they produce different noises to communicate with their species. These animals are usually reserved and take time to get used to their owners.

When you get them home, they may hiss loudly when frightened. However, these creatures will gradually overcome their anxiety and the hissing noises will lessen over time.

Snoring and gurgling noises can also be heard from the African side neck turtles when they have respiratory issues. If you hear such sounds, your turtle should be treated.

African side neck turtles

3. Box turtles

Box turtles do not vocalize frequently, but they can. They use speech during mating and social interaction with other box turtles.

Turtles that are not cold-blooded will sneeze and make gurgling noises when they are sick. When they withdraw suddenly into their shell, you can hear them hiss.

4. Baby turtles

In studies, researchers observed that baby sea turtles begin vocalizing even before their eggs hatch. Then, as the hatchlings in a nest mature, they communicate with each other to plan their hatching time.

They have a higher chance of escaping predators and finding their way to the nearest water source by hatching at the same time. Their cries are inaudible to the naked ear. Scientists employ specialized equipment in order to identify these noises, as they are not audible using natural means.

5. Red-eared slider turtles

When a red-eared slider turtle is frightened or tense, it emits loud hisses. They may also make clicking noises at various events.

When these creatures are on land or in water, they make noises. On the other hand, the noises are louder on land than in water. You may also hear red-eared sliders squeak and grunt as they walk around.

Red-eared slider turtles make loud whistling noises if they have infections or respiratory problems. If you can hear their whistles and the condition doesn’t improve after a while, your slider may need to be seen by a reptile veterinarian.

6. Painted turtles

The most frequent sound that painted turtles make is a hiss, which they make when frightened or retreating into their shells.

The release of air from the lungs produces a brief but audible hiss that is similar to that made by a deflating balloon.

Painted turtles

7. Sea turtles

Turtles make noises by breathing out. These noises are best described as grunts, clucks, and screams. Their hissing sound is likened to loud grunts due to their huge size.

It may sound like a scream to scare away attackers when you hear it. The sea turtle, on the other hand, makes this noise because it is frightened rather than out of aggression.

Male green sea turtles also produce loud, shrill sounds to communicate with one other and during mating. They also make low-frequency calls that we can’t hear well because they’re so brief.


1. Do turtles make noise at night?

The sounds they make or the times they make noises also depends on the species and gender of your pet turtle. Some species continue to be awake at night. They are supposed to produce all of the noises that they do while they are active [9].

2. Do box turtles make noise?

Box turtles also make the hissing sound, which is the most prevalent noise made by all turtles. The hissing sound is caused by air escaping from their lungs. According to people who own pet box turtles, they also produce a hard-breathing growl if picked up out of the water or on the ground [10].

3. Do snapping turtles make noise?

Turtles, in particular snappers, are notorious for aggressive motions and noises. This noise is made up of hissing and deep breathing.

4. Do sea turtles make noise?

Turtles do not have vocal cords, but they can still make noises. The sounds a turtle makes are dependent on its gender and species. Some turtles can cluck, while others produce a high-pitched wail [11].

5. Do turtles squeak?

Chirping and clicking are common sounds made by semi-aquatic turtles. When mating, tortoises squeak quite loudly – bigger species grunt. Some turtles can cluck, while others make a high-pitched wail. The hiss of a pet turtle is the most popular noise it makes [12].

6. Do turtles talk?

Turtles do not have vocal cords or external ears, yet they converse vocally. This is really incredible. While there’s no evidence of turtle speech in the wild, freshwater turtles and tortoises are known to talk constantly [13].

7. Are turtles deaf?

Turtles don’t have ears, but they are not deaf. Internally, the ear bones are encased in thin flaps of skin that receive low-frequency vibrations and sounds [14].

Useful Video: Tortoise And Turtle Sounds – Noises


  1. https://reptile.guide/turtle-sounds/#Do-Turtles-Have-Vocal-Cords
  2. https://www.petnpat.com/what-sound-does-a-turtle-make/#Why_Turtles_Make_Noise
  3. https://theturtlehub.com/what-do-different-turtle-sounds-mean/
  4. https://www.totaltails.com/do-turtles-make-noise/
  5. https://theturtlehub.com/what-do-different-turtle-sounds-mean/
  6. https://reptile.guide/turtle-sounds
  7. https://jaljeev.com/do-turtles-make-noise/
  8. https://www.turtleholic.com/what-sound-does-a-turtle-make/
  9. https://www.totaltails.com/do-turtles-make-noise
  10. https://www.totaltails.com/do-turtles-make-noise
  11. https://neeness.com/do-sea-turtles-make-sounds
  12. https://www.totaltails.com/do-turtles-make-noise
  13. https://www.allturtles.com/how-do-turtles-communicate/
  14. https://www.petmd.com/reptile/pet_lover/5-things-you-didnt-know-about-turtles