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What Noise Do Turtles Make?

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Turtles aren’t particularly vocal creatures. Typically, they tend to make grunting or hissing sounds when they are aroused or stimulated by their external environment. The question is, what exactly makes them sound like that?

Turtles are reptiles that live in water. Their body temperature is regulated through their skin, which allows them to survive in cold environments. The sounds they produce are part of their communication system.

Turtles communicate using a series of grunts and hisses. These sounds are produced by the vibration of air passing through the throat.

This causes the vocal cords to vibrate, producing the sound.

A turtle swimming

The turtle’s neck muscles contract and relax as it breathes, causing the vibrations.

When the throat is closed, the air passes through without making any noise. It is only when the throat is open that the air can move freely through the passage.

The size of the opening determines how loud the sound will be. Smaller openings cause more noise to escape. Larger openings allow less noise to pass through.

When the turtle opens its mouth, the air moves through with greater ease. As a result, the sound is louder than if the turtle had not opened its mouth at all.

Turtle Sounds: Grunt And Hiss

A turtle’s head is covered with an upper jaw called the maxilla. Behind this is a lower jaw called the mandible. Between these jaws are two rows of teeth.

A turtle uses its tongue to eat food. Food particles get stuck between the teeth and then pushed forward into the esophagus. The esophagus carries the food down to the stomach.

As food travels along the esophagus, it pushes against the walls of the tube. When the food reaches the end of the esophagus, the pressure of the food stops. At this point, the esophagus contracts and pulls back on the food.

This action forces the food out of the esophagus and into the stomach. While the food is traveling down the esophagus, there is no way for it to come out of the other end.

If the food gets caught in the esophagus, however, the esophagus can expand and push the food out. This happens because the esophagus has a sphincter muscle.

This muscle controls the flow of food from one side of the esophagus to the other. If the esophagus becomes blocked, the sphincter muscle relaxes and lets the food pass.

When the sphincter does not work properly, the food remains in the esophagus and eventually dies.

Turtle Sounds – Grunt

A turtle opening its mouth

The turtle’s throat is located behind the upper jaw. The larynx is a cartilage-covered structure that connects the trachea (windpipe) to the esophagus.

The larynx contains three main parts: the epiglottis, the vocal folds, and the thyroid cartilage.

The epiglottis is a flap of tissue that covers the entrance to the windpipe. It keeps foreign objects from entering the windpipe.

The vocal folds are made up of a pair of flaps of connective tissue. Each fold is attached to the larynx and extends downward toward the esophagus. Together, the folds form a channel or tunnel.

The vocal folds vibrate as air flows through them. They act like a speaker cone. Air enters the windpipe through the nostrils and hits the epiglottis.

The epiglottis closes and prevents the air from passing into the windpipe. This causes the air to rush past the folds of the vocal folds.

When the air rushes past the folds, they vibrate and make a low-pitched sound.

The vibration of the vocal folds creates the sound we call “grunts”.

Turtle Sounds – Hiss

A turtle hissing

The turtle’s lungs are located near the bottom of the rib cage. Just above the lungs is a large sac called the pleural cavity.

Air enters the body through the nose and passes through the nasal passages and sinuses. From here, it goes into the pharynx.

Air continues down the esophagus until it reaches the stomach. In the stomach, the air mixes with digestive juices.

After digestion, the air moves back up the esophagus into the mouth. As it leaves the stomach, the air expands and cools.

Because the air is cold, it makes a hissing noise when it comes out of the mouth.

Turtle Sounds – Squeal

The turtle’s intestines are located at the bottom of the abdomen. Here, watery waste material collects and is stored until it is released by the animal.

The intestine begins at the tail bone and ends at the anus. Inside the intestinal tract are many small loops called coils. These coils are connected together in a long chain.

Each coil is about 10 inches long. At the end of each loop is an opening called a pore. Pores allow liquid waste to leave the intestine.

As the waste travels along the intestine, it absorbs nutrients from the food. When the waste is ready to be excreted, it is pushed out through the anus.

As the waste exits the body, it forms feces. Feces may contain undigested food particles, bacteria, parasites, and dead cells. Feces can also carry disease organisms that cause diarrhea and dysentery.

Turtle Sounds – Snort

Sea turtles breathe air through their gills. Their gills are located behind their heads.

They use these gills to extract oxygen from seawater. The water flows over the gill plates and is filtered as it passes through the blood vessels.

This can cause a snorting sound. Oxygenated blood then carries this gas to the rest of the body.

Turtles do not need to eat while they are swimming. They get most of their energy from the oxygen dissolved in seawater.

Turtles also spend much of their time floating motionless in the water as this allows them to conserve energy.


To conclude, the noise that turtles make depends upon what part of the body they are using.

For instance, they will produce a snorting sound when breathing air through their gills and a hissing sound when they are digesting food.

Therefore, the noise that a turtle makes will vary depending on the organ that it is using and the activity that it is partaking in.

Turtles also make different sounds depending on whether they are moving or resting.

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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.