Do Turtles & Tortoises Make Noise? What They Sound Like?


My story begins last year June when I decided to adopt Tubby, my cute little turtle.

I was super excited and overjoyed to see the little one pet roaming around my house.

We adore a beautiful relationship and my all family now feels happy in her presence. She loves to give me company on long summer evenings. 

Now the question most people are curious to know about is:


Does Turtle Make Sounds? 

Well, quite interesting to know the answer. When I adopted Tubby she was feeling overwhelmed with the new surroundings and family members. I tried to comfort her by providing great care.

Before adopting Tubby I researched about it and found that Turtle/Tortoise make very low-frequency sounds. Although they don`t have vocal cords that help to produce sound, infect their hisses. This hissing sound is created from the expelling of air from the lungs.   

Does Turtle/Tortoise Make Strange Noises?

Tubby changed the way I think about turtles before. I found her a very peaceful and lovely creature.

Tubby belongs to the family of a South American Species famous as a red-footed turtle. The male tortoise mostly made a high-pitched sound that seems familiar to the electric motor noise. Giant Musk turtles belong to Central America and are well known for producing a sound like the yelping of the dog when it is likely to attack.    

Soon after the adoption, Tubby`s nesting period started. Once my brother called me for Tubby was making very weird noises. It was similar to human belching noise, it was quite normal for female turtle during the nesting period. 

When we observed her closely we discovered that she can make this sound by swallowing air into her lungs. This unique noise is emitted by the hissing sounds of turtles forcing air into their lungs. Eventually, I recognized these strange sounds as a part of Tubby`s motherhood journey.

If My Turtle/Tortoise Speak Why I Can`t Hear It?

The recent studies made in the US by Chelonian Conservation under the Biology department discovered that two turtle species vocalize during reproduction. Their vocalization varies and more frequent during social interactions. 

When I discovered the habits of my little one, I found her to make strange noises and this diminishes the fact that turtle can`t make noises. 

Turtle’s Are Dumb And Deaf, True or Myth?

A few decades back there was the assumption that turtles are deaf as a stump and not able to vocalize and people just believed that blindly. 

Recent researches made on turtles have proved that their sound can be recorded on equipment. They produce a very low-frequency sound that is not audible to the human ear. These sounds are infrequent, low in volume and frequency so very easy to overlook. 

What Do Different Turtle Sounds Mean?

I have several lovely moments with my girl where she makes a hissing sound. When I tried to pick her up out of the water she hisses loudly.

 If she is walking on the floor and I approach her for holding in my hand she hisses… seems to be her way of telling me that do1nt want to be touched right now, as she is on ” Don`t Disturb” mode.  

Turtles being animals can`t speak with clear speech rather able to create a handful of noises. 

Tubby often uses different sounds to express various emotional states. It shows that your girl’s chatter is not useless; she is trying to convey her message with these little gestures. 

Here are few possible meanings of turtle’s noises. 

1. Hiss

This is a most common gesture, although not strong enough such as cat`s sound rather low frequency but audible. These three conditions mostly trigger turtles to start hissing

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

 Whenever my baby feels stressed, she shows her nervousness by producing a hissing sound. In a chaotic environment, guests at home or a crowd of people make tubby react by hissing. This shows her distress about her surroundings. As I took her away from such a place, she looks calm. She tries to tucks into her shell and air leaves space. All this process creates strange noises. 

Turtle likes to hiss during matting. Rather sometimes this conveys a threatening signal to other fellow turtles. 

2. Cluck 

Don`t always expect a chicken to make a clucking sound. Yes, Turtles also cluck like chickens, especially to attract their mates in the breeding season. 


Probably it’s surprising for you to hear that turtles can mimic the chirping sound. 

How they can do without vocal cords? well, It is a rubbing sound of their upper and lower back. Red eared and box turtles are often found to be making such chirping sounds. 

3. Whistling 

Have to ever found your turtle whistling with a closed mouth?

Unluckily, it is not a good indicator.  it shows respiratory illness symptoms. If it comes with white residue on the neck, nose, and mouth with loss of appetite, you must go Vet for consultation. 

4. Cardinal Singing

No, my Tubby didn`t ever sing, still, there are proofs of turtles singing during the breeding season. Especially American snake-necked turtle found vocalizing many times. 

Some turtles love to create a burst of sounds in rhythmic beats. This rhythmic sound feels more like cardinal singing. 

I would love to hear these sounds from my little girls but this does not happen yet.  

5. Grunt Or Hybird

I was not surprised when I found Tubby without ears. Yes, turtles do not have ears but they develop the ability to hear during mating season. As the turtle reach near to hatchling, they made grunt or hybird tones. 

Probably it’s their way of communication; they transmit signals to their babies about leaving eggs. This sound visibly changes as a few babies are out of their eggs. 


Summarily, turtles do make sounds and we can hear them without using any specialized listening equipment. Turtles create hissing sounds but that is air leaving excess space in their shells. 

While spending few months with Tubby I discovered a “hoot” sound coming out of her throat. Hence, it is proved that considering turtle as deaf and mute due to the absence of vocal cords is not justified. 

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