A new study reveals that turtles make a wide variety of sounds.
Researcher Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen recorded surprising vocalizations from 50 species of turtles.
Listen to 13 of these rarely heard turtle sounds, from croaking and squeaking to crowing and purring.
Turtles have a reputation for being slow, steady, and quiet. If you listen closely, though, they’re surprisingly loud.
Gabriel Jorgewich-Cohen first realized this when he watched a group of baby turtles crawl out of their nests in the Brazilian Amazon, where he was conducting fieldwork. They were squeaking.
Jorgewich-Cohen, a doctoral student at the University of Zurich, told Insider via email, “This reminded me of turtle sounds I’ve heard while watching funny videos online, and it made me question how many species of turtles are also making noises out there.”
So she ran home to her 10 pet turtles and set them up with recording equipment she borrowed from another researcher. They also made noises like the clicks in the clip below. Raise your voice to hear:
“My first reaction was to think it was a mistake, but the more I recorded, the more I found. I couldn’t help smiling when I realized that these were actually turtle sounds,” said Jorgewich-Cohen.
Soon he was in the lab trying to record turtle squeaks, croaks, and clicks, and to understand when reptiles deliberately make noises to communicate with each other.
There was a surprising variety of sounds. This sounds like a record scratch:
Another turtle let out a deep purr:
Even within the same species, the sounds were different. This clip of a fluttering turtle sounds like a Darth Vader-style sigh:
As this snapping turtle sounds almost like a frog croaking:
Turtle voices were documented in writing in the 1970s, but Jorgewich-Cohen wanted to capture the vocal range of these reptiles in sound recordings.
He also wanted to separate involuntary sounds such as burping from sounds intended to convey something to other turtles.
Jorgewich-Cohen recorded 50 different species of turtles. Surprisingly, each one was making noise. He thinks voice communication is common among turtles.
These findings were published in the journal Nature Communications in October.
Voices of creatures that are not silent
Jorgewich-Cohen suspects that people don’t notice turtle sounds very often because it’s hard to hear them from the water.
So he and his colleagues used underwater cameras to observe the turtles and see if their behavior was associated with certain sounds.
“We also recorded them in different groups when animals were present: females only, males only, offspring only, and then combinations of these groups. This allowed us to check if there were sounds produced by different animals only in certain situations,” he said. .
In one instance, a male wood turtle with spotted legs made a squeaking noise below while displaying courtship behavior, Jorgewich-Cohen said.
When mating, two of Jorgewich-Cohen’s red-footed turtles, Arnaldo and Jojo, made the following grunting sound:
“Homer, Hulk, Carmelo, and Clayton made a lot of different sounds,” he said, including the click below. “In some cases they were fighting,” he added.
For some turtle species, the researchers identified as many as 30 distinct sounds.
This sounds a bit robotic:
This Malayan soft-shelled turtle is a chirping, chirping chirping.
Although this sounds like a radar signal from a movie:
Researchers even went back to sea turtles and caught their cries:
The next time you see a turtle, listen carefully. He may be trying to tell you something.
Read the original article on Business Insider