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Do Turtles & Tortoises Like Music?

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Turtles and tortoises are reptiles that make popular pets, and many people like to play their pets music.

If you’re interested in buying either a turtle or a tortoise, you might be curious to know: Do turtles and tortoises like music?

Swimming turtle

In this article, I will cover some key information on whether turtles & tortoises like music.

Let’s get into it.

Do Turtles & Tortoises Like Music?

Unfortunately, there is currently no scientific evidence to suggest that turtles and tortoises like music. However, the good news is that there is currently no evidence to suggest that they don’t enjoy music, either!

As a result, this is a fairly subjective matter. While some owners might have turtles that seem to respond well to music, others might not. 

You should also bear in mind that the environment, their personality, and their age are all factors that you should bear in mind.

A Note On What We Know About Turtles & Tortoises Enjoying Music

It is unclear whether all turtles and tortoises enjoy the sound of music, or if they just happen to be responding to something else entirely when it is played to them.

Walking baby tortoise

For example, while we can say that most turtles and tortoises react positively to music, we cannot say with certainty that they do so because they enjoy the music itself.

We can only speculate as to why certain animals respond to music. We can only guess at what sort of music they may react well to, and the sort of music that they may react adversely to.

For instance, if your pet turtle or tortoise seems excited or active when you play classical music, this may indicate that they are enjoying what they’re hearing.

On the other hand, if they actively hide, run away, or seem agitated by the noise when you play another genre, such as rock, then it could indicate that they aren’t enjoying the sound.

Offer them a variety of different songs, different genres, stopping and starting the music, or just turning it down to see how your pet turtle or tortoise reacts.

The fact remains that we simply do not know for sure whether turtles and tortoises actually enjoy music.

However, we do know that they respond to it in some way. If you want to find out more, then make sure that you closely monitor your turtle or tortoise as you play them the music.

It’s important to note that if your pet turtle or tortoise seems distressed in any way, then you shouldn’t continue this experiment at the expense of their health and happiness.

They should be your priority, after all.

Will Your Pet Turtle Or Tortoise Like Your Music?

There’s no way of determining whether your specific turtle or tortoise will enjoy your music until you give it a go!

Some might enjoy the vibrations of certain songs, genres, or tunes that you play for them. In addition to this, they may even show a preference to certain voice frequencies, too.

If you buy a turtle or tortoise and raise and play them music from a young age, then they are more likely to enjoy, or at least be more familiar with listening to music.

It may even comfort them and make them feel safe enough to come out of their shell if they begin to associate it with you, their wonderful owner!

This is great for turtles or tortoises that are on the shyer side.

Can You Encourage Your Turtle Or Tortoise To Enjoy Music?

As little is known about whether these reptiles enjoy music, it’s tricky to determine one thing that would help them to enjoy it more.

Baby turtle on the keyboard

As I’ve already discussed, the closest thing you can do to find out whether they enjoy a certain type of music is to play it to them and to assess their behavior and reaction to it.

Is It Dangerous To Play Music To Your Turtle Or Tortoise?

Provided that the music is played at a reasonable level and isn’t going to frighten your turtle or tortoise, there is generally no harm in playing them music.

However, if your turtle seems visibly distressed or is acting out of character when you are playing the music, it is essential that you put their needs above all else.

It might be that they’re distressed by the extra noise, or the unfamiliar sound as it is foreign to them. For whatever reason your turtle or tortoise’s reaction is adverse, it is your responsibility to remove the stressor (the music) from their environment.

What Do Turtles And Tortoises Hear?

Both these reptiles can hear some of what you do, but they hear at a different frequency to you and I.

This has been presented as a reason for why turtles and tortoises might not enjoy deeper sounding songs, as it is thought that the bass and bigger vibrations might scare them in the same way a large predator would.

Can Your Turtle Or Tortoise Hear You?

Turtles and tortoises can hear to some extent, but their hearing is nowhere near as good as a human’s naturally is.

Typically speaking, it is thought that they can feel the vibrations when you talk. This is particularly people with deeper voices.

It is also worth mentioning that these reptiles tend to respond to scent much more than sound. For instance, if you place food in front of them, they will likely eat it.

While this can seem like they’re responding to your voice when you call them over, it’s more likely that they are curious about the food and that they are hungry.

This can lead many people to assume that they’re responding to their name, when in reality it’s more likely that they just want the food that you’re offering them!

Do Turtles Or Tortoises Understand Music?

No, neither of these reptiles understand music in the same way that other animals don’t understand, either.

The experience of listening to music is a fundamental part of many people’s experience, but it is a human experience.

You wouldn’t expect your dog to understand a complex verse in a song, and you can’t expect your pet turtle or tortoise to, either!

However, just because they don’t understand it to the same degree that we do, doesn’t mean that they won’t enjoy listening to it every now and again. However, this is a very subjective matter and can differ depending on your pet!

Are They Sensitive To Loud Sounds?

As I’ve already covered, loud sounds can cause more distress to a turtle or a tortoise. 

While their hearing isn’t super sensitive, it might be that the vibrations can scare your pet turtle or tortoise in the same way that a large predator would when running up behind them.

This is why it’s essential to monitor your turtle when you are playing them music. To live on the side of caution, generally speaking, you shouldn’t play the music too loud anyway.

If you’re trying to encourage your tortoise or turtle to enjoy music, playing loud music right in their ear might have the opposite effect of what you want it to.

Introduce music to them gently, and always make sure that you’re being respectful of your pet and their boundaries.

If they show any signs of distress, then you will want to ensure that you stop playing the music immediately and reassure them that everything is okay.

In Summary

So, while we can’t say for sure whether turtles and tortoises enjoy music, we do know that they aren’t adverse to it.

However, if you want to be absolutely sure that your pet enjoys music, then you’ll need to try it out first.

I hope this article has been useful. Good luck playing your pet turtle or tortoise some music!

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About the author


Kerry White is an avid dog lover and writer, knowing all there is to know about our furry friends. Kerry has been writing for PetDT for three years now, wanting to use her knowledge for good and share everything she can with new dog owners.Kerry has two dogs herself - a German shepherd called Banjo and a chocolate labrador called Buttons. Kerry knows more than anyone how adjusting to new life with a puppy can turn your life upside down, and she wants to ease some of the burdens through her articles.