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what sound does a turtle make

What Sound Does a Turtle Make | Turtle Sound

Today we will discuss What Sound Does a Turtle Make. Until recent times, people had little knowledge about turtle sounds. To be honest, many people thought that turtles are dumb and can’t produce any sound (I too was on the same list). However, recent studies on turtles have discovered some engraving and exciting facts about the beautiful creature. 

One such discovery found that not only turtles can make sounds, but also they produce various sounds depending on the conditions they face. 

These inventions prompted me to dive deep into what sound a turtle make, and I thought the information might be helpful for you. 

So, here we go. 

What Sound Does a Turtle Make

Turtles being one of the oldest surviving creatures have developed a wider variety of species. These species make various sounds. However, the sound variation mostly comes from the different conditions and moods of the turtle. 

Chances are high for turtle owners that they have heard their turtle hissing at some point in the captivity period. It is common sense turtles hisses whenever they feel stretched and anxious. The sound has a close similarity to that of a snake hissing. 

There are even some turtles that can sing a song. The most famous example of a singer turtle is probably the snapping turtle at Lowry Park Zoo.

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There’re other kinds of sounds that a turtle will create. The turtle does so to communicate with his tank mates or friends around its housing in the natural habitat. So, let’s see the turtle sound variations at a glance. 


I have told you that turtle hisses whenever it feels anxious or frightened. So, whenever you heard turtles hissing, it is a clear sign that it is feeling threatened or something isn’t in their comfort zone. 

That’s the reason why I have seen many turtle owners complain about the turtle hissing at them at the first feet meetups. But it is natural, and the turtle doesn’t make such sounds voluntarily. In fact, the poor creature doesn’t even know that it is hissing. 

The involuntary sound I linked with a rapid tuck of the turtle’s neck and head into its shell. As the turtle tucks its head into the shell, the process expels an amount of air from the turtle’s lungs. Since the air expulsion happens rapidly, the hissing sound is created. 

Hence, it is a biological process and not a voluntary one. 

Sounds of Stress and Nervous

Did anyone of you notice a cat or dog making a sound whenever feeling nervous and stressed or confused? The same thing is true for turtles too. 

First off, likewise, belly python turtles don’t like to get touched, especially by strangers. So, when you first bring a pet turtle home, you might hear it hissing or creating a sound to express its discomfort while you handle it. 

Hence, we admit you to tackle the turtles carefully at the beginning time. It will help the turtle feel relaxed and get attached to you. Also, giving it its favorite food treat will be beneficial to stop it hissing and quickly grow an attachment with you. 

Turtle Sounds of Aggressiveness

Sometimes an intimidating turtle will show aggression. Thus, the belligerent turtle will create an aggressive sound as a sign of his attacking mentality. However, it is subject to situations and will happen mostly in the wilderness. 

The snapper turtles are experts at making such aggressive sounds while showing aggression or will to attack their opponent.

The sound of aggression is a combination of continuous hissing and heavy breathing. Turtles produce the sound whenever it feels threatened to lose their territory. Hence, you can experience such kind of noise if you own any territorial turtles, especially more than two in the same turtle tank. 

You can avoid such territorial aggression and sound by making the container spacious enough to accommodate several turtles. You should also provide enough hiding space for each turtle. 

Sound When Mating

Different turtle species create exciting sounds when they mate. The music is challenging to express in words unless you have heard or experienced it. 

Still, if you can imagine a growing person crying continuously in agony, you will feel how the turtle sound would seem when mating. However, the mating sound is more prominent in giant turtles, for instance, inland tortoises than in small ones. 

I have heard a few people claiming that the continuous crying of turtles during the mating session creates a subtle harmony when coupled with the males’ intended movement for finding the female partner. 

Interesting note:

Map turtles also create a distinctive sound when they mate with each other. However, the sound is so low-pitched that it remains under humans’ audible capacity. 

Sea Turtle Noises

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Sea turtles are unique in the sense that it creates a lot of low-frequency sound. However, normal human ears can’t hear these sounds mostly. Still, with modern-day auditory devices, scientists have recorded sea turtle sounds. 

Notably, the leatherback sea turtle and its hatchlings create immediate bonding between them through low-frequency sounds. A study has found that leatherback sea turtle hatchlings will start vocalizing or creating sounds between 50-55 days. 

On the contrary, Arrau turtle embryos start vocalizing even before it is born. Yes, it makes the 1st sound 8-36 hours before it is hatched- incredible. 

Baby turtle sound creation:

Just like a human baby, baby turtles also have different sound creation procedures, and their vocalization is different too. 

The vocalization happens for two specific reasons-

  1. They are announcing their birth. The vocalization alerts the parents about the baby’s birth and is preventive to it against predators. So, it helps to reduce the risk of being eaten by predators at the hatching and juvenile stages. 
  2. Baby turtles vocalize to familiarize themselves with their siblings which creates a long-lasting bond between them. It continues for the rest of their lifetime. 


Although you now know what sound a turtle makes, you shouldn’t expect it to communicate with you through vocalization, likewise pet cats and dogs. However, if you notice the turtle hissing at you, there’s nothing to be glad about it. 

The hissing is a clear sign that the turtle isn’t comfortable. It will slowly reduce as it gets accustomed to you. With growing, attachment turtles will tap on the container whenever it feels like eating or getting a treat. It also is a sign of showing affection for owners.

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