Turtles Can Talk to Each Other

August 19, 2014

Turtle can talk to each other, and not just the teenage mutant ninja kind, as scientists in Brazil have successfully recorded giant South American river turtles talking while still in their shells, right before they hatch. Scientists previously thought that turtles were not capable of vocalizing and were also deaf, based on 1950s book on reptiles and amphibians that said so. But that notion has been dispelled for quite some time.

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According to researchers studying the giant South American river turtle (Podocnemis expansa), turtles vulcanize at very low frequencies and  are not very chatty, perhaps making vocal sounds once every few hours, and for very short durations, according to a report on PRI.org.

Camila Ferrara

Courtesy Camila Ferrara

Researcher Camila Ferrara was surprised when she heard turtles vocalizing prior to hatching.

Researcher Richard Vogt says that some turtles start vocalizing before they hatch and speculates that the turtles are talking to each other in order to hatch close to the same time. Vogt thinks that all turtle species communicate with their voices. “We're showing that turtles are very social animals,” Vogt told PRI. “The behavior of turtles is much complex than people thought before.”


John B. Virata keeps a ball python, two corn snakes, a king snake, and two leopard geckos. His first snake, a California kingsnake, was purchased at the Pet Place in Westminster, CA for $5. Follow him on Twitter @johnvirata 


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