what sound does a turtle make

Turtle Noises 

Have you ever heard your turtle make a noise or sound? Do turtles make a noise when they mate? Do they vary by species? You may think that turtles don’t make noises, but recent research says otherwise. 

It is fairly uncommon knowledge, even for turtle owners, that turtles can actually make sounds. Most of the time, the noises are correlated with the current behavior of the turtle.

Do turtles make sounds? 

Until recently, not much was known about the noises that turtles can make as they are typically very quiet creatures. A turtle’s ability to remain stealth actually helps them survive in the wild. New sound and noise technology has proven that the sounds that turtle make are very low frequency and quiet.

Although turtles do not possess vocal cords, they are able to make sounds by expelling the air from their lungs. In this article, we evaluate different situations and noises that turtles make to show that turtles, do in fact make sounds. 

The type of sound will depend on the turtle’s mood and health. For example, the turtle below is chirping because it has a respiratory illness and is having trouble breathing.

Why do turtles make noise?

As research has gone more in depth in this subject, studies have found that turtles make noises when they are hatching in order to coordinate their way out of the egg. Turtles make noises in order to communicate with one another, similar to other animals and reptiles. Turtles also making mating noises, something that many species of animals do. 

When hatching, it is a dangerous initial period in a turtle’s life, This is because the turtle is usually left alone and must locates its way to the water and surrounding environment. By making noises days in advance of hatching, the pod is able to synchronize and find safety in numbers in order to have better chances of survival given the looming predators nearby. 

A rising concern given the declining population of turtles is noise pollution. Noise pollution makes it harder for turtles to locate the other hatchlings nearby which could further endanger turtles as they try to evade predators moments after they hatch.

What sound does a turtle make? 

Researchers have found that turtles make a wide variety of sounds. Such sounds are dependent on what is occurring and why the turtle is making the noise. Noises that have been observed by researchers have included varieties of clicks, clucks, meows and even chirps. It is believed that turtles can make noises underwater as well. 

Due to the low frequency and inconsistency of noises, it has been very easy for humans to miss the audible nature of turtles. Elderly individuals especially would have a hard time locating the low frequency of noises made by turtles. 

Similar to other creatures, turtles make noises when they are stressed, angry, and aggressive. In these instances, turtles have been found to make hissing noises to warn predators and bystanders when they feel threatened. Similar to when a dog grows before they attack, turtles will hiss and breathe heavily to express their negative feelings. 

Do turtles mate? 

Like all creatures, in order to procreate and continue the species, turtles must mate to produce offspring that will later hatch and survive on its own. There are certain sounds that are correlated with the act of turtles mating as well as the act of hatchlings coming out of their shells and exploring their surrounding environments. 

Turtle Mating Sounds 

The turtle mating noise that researchers have been able to identify is hard to describe but can be identified as a continuous cry while the turtles are procreating. The map turtle species has been found to make such low frequency mating noises that humans cannot detect the noise on their own. 

Why is my turtle making noises?

Turtles are not a domestic pet that typically enjoys being touched, which is opposite for other pets such as dogs and cats. Some turtles have been found to make hissing noises in early stages of being handled by their owners. It is a way of expressing stress and fear of the unknown. It’s important to move slowly and in short increments when familiarizing yourself with your turtle so they can adapt to your presence. Food and treats can be helpful in this process of training. Be understanding of your turtle if it retreats into its shell after vocally expressing itself. 

Turtles are known for easily being stressed and impacted by the quality of their environment. Make sure you read up on proper care regarding light and heat for your turtle. It is important to always make sure the temperature in their tank is appropriate. Turtles are prone to respiratory infections that can occur due to inadequate environments. Some hissing or heavy breathing noises can be a sign that your turtle has a respiratory infection.

Red eared slider chirping

It is common for Red eared sliders to chirp. Sometimes, it can mean that your turtle is uncomfortable because of the water temperature, or because they have a respiratory illness. However, if your red eared slider is chirping there is no need to panic right away. The key is to observe for any other symptoms, such as white residue on neck or shell, change in appetite, soft shell, or residue on their face or mouth. Sometimes, Red eared sliders will chirp if they are bored.


Although turtles are not the most social reptiles or creatures on earth, they do still operate in similar fashions for survival. This includes making noises that relate to danger and procreation. 

Turtles are vulnerable to experiencing stress, which can be triggered by excessive human interactions. It is best to give your turtle space if they are making hissing noises or retreating into their shell. 

Remember, it is always important to consult with your vet if you suspect that your turtle is unwell. Veterinarians are equipped to give advice if you suspect your turtle is sick. Any changes in behavior could indicate an issue that needs to be resolved with medical attention. 

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