Do Turtles Have Ears?

Do turtles have ears? Turtles don’t have external ears; they have internal ears. Thus, turtles are not deaf. Internal ear bones are protected by delicate folds of skin, which allow them to receive vibrations and low-frequency sound.

Do Turtles Have Ears?

Do Turtles Have Ears?

There are no outward ears on a turtle; instead, they have internal ears. This permits turtles to hear noises, but not as well as other creatures with internal and external ears, such as birds and mammals.

As with other turtles, my turtles don’t have ears yet respond to loud noises. Do turtles hear, or are they simply responding to the vibrations of the water? After doing some study on it, here’s what I found out about this topic:

Turtles can hear sounds, although their hearing isn’t particularly good because they don’t have external ears. As a result, turtles can hear noises even though they don’t have external ears. Let’s take a closer look at a turtle’s ears to learn more about how it hears.

Turtles are often mistaken for amphibians because of their outer ear configuration as a reptile that can live both on land and underwater. The internal ears of turtles replace the absence of external or outer ears. A thin layer of skin protects turtles’ internal ear bones. Small skin protect turtles’ ears on both sides of their shells.

The skin flap allows them to detect vibrations or sound waves. Turtles have little openings on the sides of their skulls and on the tip of their snout. Turtles cannot detect high-pitched noises through their external or outer ear. Turtles do not have eardrums. Hence they are unable to detect airborne sound waves.


When hearing low-frequency noises and vibrations, their inside ears have a little boney structure that helps them do so. As a result, the myth that turtles cannot hear loud noises is unfounded, and turtles’ inner ear canals are responsible for their ability to hear loud noises.

Are Turtles Deaf?

No, turtles are not deaf and use their internal ears to detect vibrations to hear what is happening around them. Turtles are often believed to be deaf, whether on land or at sea.

Because each turtle species’ outer ear is hidden, it doesn’t imply they don’t have ears. Their skin and vibrations allow them to pick up on the sounds around them. Turtles’ external ears differ little from ours in appearance.

Because of their location on the side of the skull, a turtle’s ears might be difficult to discern. Underwater, sea turtles perceive low-frequency noises like land turtles do: through sound vibrations or waves.

Turtles’ heads have two inner ears that assist them in detecting changes in water pressure and the presence of predators. According to certain studies, Green sea turtles have extremely sensitive hearing, with a frequency range of 200-500 Hz.

Turtles have a thick skin near their ears known as the cutaneous plate. The inner ears on the smooth sides of land turtles’ heads, as well as their brains and auditory nerve components, are how these reptiles detect danger from predators.

Keep in mind: Any animal’s brain and auditory nerves aid it in recognizing danger. Both male and female turtles benefit from the low-frequency noises. Turtle hearing is also greatly influenced by the brain.

5 Fun Facts About Turtles

These five turtle facts may surprise you, whether you’re considering obtaining one as a pet or have owned one for years.

  1. However, despite their lack of otoliths, turtles aren’t completely deaf. Skin flap parts that cover the internal ear bones pick up vibrations and low-frequency noises.

  2. The average lifespan of a water turtle is between 30 and 40 years. On the other hand, box turtles and tortoises can live for up to a century.

  3. The 60 bones that make up a turtle’s shell are usually fused throughout construction.

  4. Turtles’ hearing appears to span from 200 to 750 Hz. Due to their low sensitivity to noises over 1000Hz, turtles do not respond well to these sounds. According to research, green sea turtles’ hearing is most acute between 200 Hz and 500 Hz. On the other hand, humans have a hearing range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.

  5. Turtles may release air from their lungs, generating a hissing sound to free up space in their shells.

What Is the Hearing Mechanism of Turtles?

Turtles can’t hear some sounds since they don’t have external ears. They are designed to draw the sound into the inner ears of both cats and humans.

A few tiny flap parts simply cover the inner ear of turtles. Known as cutaneous plates, these flap parts are made of skin. These flap parts pick up sound and vibrations, which transmit them to the middle ear and ultimately to the inner ear.

Other reptiles and amphibians employ the same sort of hearing system as turtles. The inner ear first processes the sound, which then conveys the information to the brain. The turtle begins to respond to the sound as its brain analyses it more.

Note: You can hear this mechanism in action if you put your finger over an open window while listening to loud music. The window frame will vibrate, and you’ll notice it. The vibrations will cease if you place your palm over the window.

How Do Turtles Interact?

Turtles rely mostly on sound to communicate with one other. Male Travancore turtles are reported to generate a high-pitched whine during mating.

When dragged from the water, certain species of larger-headed freshwater turtle produce a loud roaring noise to frighten away predators. The Amazon River Arrau turtle is thought to utilize echolocation to navigate.

According to several studies by herpetologists, female turtles converse with their hatchlings while still in their moult. Because of these sounds, it is thought that the eggs will soon hatch. As a result, stragglers are less likely to be targeted since they will all hatch at once.


Immediately after hatching, females begin making sounds that attract infants. As a result, the newborns begin to migrate toward their parents, resulting in a cohesive group. Then, the bigger group migrates to the river’s better-equipped sections.

Underwater Turtle Hearing

The following is a list of the typical underwater times for turtles:

Type of Turtle Time Duration
Box turtle 1 – 2 minutes
Desert tortoise 1 – 2 minutes
Snapping turtle 20 – 30 minutes
Red-eared slider 20 – 30 minutes
Map turtle 20 – 30 minutes
Green sea turtle 7 – 10 hours
Leatherback sea turtle 7 – 10 hours
Kemp’s ridley 7 – 10 hours
Olive ridley 7 – 10 hours

In comparison to the air, water is a highly distinct medium. Every sound is heard much more clearly in water because the water molecules are much closer together than the air molecules. Furthermore, depending on the type of ear, the sounds might be a lot more distinct.

Compared to the human ear, the skin of a turtle are far better at picking up the vibrations of sound in water. When it comes to underwater combat, turtles have a significant advantage over other animals.

Note: Internal ears are the only kind of ears that aquatic animals have. This is because hearing underwater might be more difficult when using an external ear.

How Does a Turtle’s Ear Operate?

The turtle’s ear comprises multiple unique sections, including the inner and middle ear, which are separated by a membrane. There are flap parts of skin on the exterior of the turtle’s ears that collect sound waves.

  • External ears do not allow turtles to hear as much as they want. As a result, a person’s external ear is designed to pull sound waves into the inner ear, unlike an animal’s.

  • There are two narrow flap parts on either side of the turtle’s head. The cutaneous plate covers the turtle’s rear entrance and is the name given to these flap parts.

  • This skin is comparable to the rest of the turtle’s head in terms of texture.

  • The flap parts pick up sound waves and transport them to the inner ear via the middle ear.

The inner ear processes the sound waves and then transmits them to the brain, where they may be interpreted. The turtle can then hear and respond to the sound. Using sound waves or vibrations, the turtles are alerted to predators and can locate possible prey and navigate their environment.


The chirping of birds (with frequencies ranging from 1,000 Hz to 8,000 Hz) cannot be heard by turtles because of the structure of their ears, but they can detect vibrations and other low-frequency noises, such as the vibration from drums.


Some related questions are given below:

1 - Is the ear of a turtle watertight?

The skin around a turtle’s ears is extremely thick and durable, but the ears are not waterproof. With this, their ears will be better protected from water and other foreign objects. If a turtle’s ear becomes wet, it will almost certainly begin swimming about in an attempt to dry it off.

2 - Is it possible that humans influence turtles?

The same thing happens to turtles. When they’re feeling affectionate, turtles and tortoises like watching their human companions, they may show an interest in what you’re doing in the vicinity. There are instances when a long, stretched-out neck in your presence suggests a desire for physical contact.

3 - How can turtles perceive sounds?

Vibrations in the air or water may be picked up by turtles, allowing them to hear. The tympanic membrane vibrates as sound waves contact it, causing the ossicles to convey vibrations to the cochlea, which then processes the sound. Hair cells in the cochlea get agitated when the fluid inside the organs begins to move, resulting in electrical impulses sent to the brain. These signals are translated into sound.

4 - What about turtles?

Because tortoises are reptiles, they cannot feel “love” in the human sense. However, tortoises display signals of compassion and gratitude towards their owners. Animals raised by humans will follow their owners, tolerate being handled, and even seek us out when they see us.

5 - Do turtles respond well to human communication?

The turtles can detect your fragrance when you put your hand in the tank. Additionally, turtles have a remarkable ability to hear well. Your conversation may be audible even if you’re in another room. Since a pet turtle’s existence might get monotonous after a while, they like listening to and soaking in the noises of the environment.

6 - Is it true that turtles have an excellent sense of hearing?

Even though turtles have one of the worst ears in the animal kingdom, they can detect weak or far-off noises. When someone calls out to them, they may hear it well since their hearing is particularly sensitive to higher frequencies.

7 - Can turtles hear underwater?

It’s true: turtles can hear rather well when they’re submerged! To hear underwater, they use their columella organs to enhance sound waves. You’ll often notice turtles with their heads out of the water because it enables them to better detect predators and prey.

8 - Is it possible to tell whether a turtle is a content?

Clear eyes are a sign of a healthy and happy turtle. They mustn’t exhibit any indicators of respiratory distress. Several telltale indicators indicate that your turtle is ill, including puffy, clouded, or “weepy” eyes with an obvious discharge. Breathing difficulties are also a prevalent indicator.

9 - Is it possible that turtles can hear me?

Turtles, on the other hand, lack an outer ear and must rely on their inner ears to hear. Small skin protect internal ear bones. Turtles may have little hearing due to skin that allow low-frequency noises and vibrations to enter the ear canal.

10 - Do turtles have blood?

It is possible to use sterile gauze to stop the turtle’s bleeding if necessary. Sterilized gauze can also be used to fix any fractured shell parts that may be present on the turtle. Do not feed or water an injured turtle.


Even though turtles have a unique form of the ear, they can hear fairly well! The skin around their ears is thick and strong, but their ears are not watertight. Turtles that have their heads out of the water are most likely listening for something. How does a turtle hear? If you’ve ever seen one, you may have wondered.

We have external ears, but turtles only have little apertures on the sides of their heads through which sound may enter their inner ear canals; they do not have external ears like us. The auditory system of turtles will be examined in this blog article, and we will discover how they can hear even though they lack external ears!

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