There are numerous myths concerning how developed a tortoise’s senses are. Tortoises aren’t the fastest animals to react, so it’s natural to question if they can hear you.
Tortoises have a good hearing for low frequencies. They can detect noises at frequencies ranging from 10 to 182 Hz, whereas humans can hear sounds at frequencies ranging from 20 to 20,000 Hz.
They rely on vibrations to perceive environmental stimuli, therefore higher-frequency noises go unnoticed.
Because tortoise hearing is so different from ours, you’ll need to alter your interactions with them if you want to connect with them.
You might be astonished by how your tortoise reacts to you if you employ a tone of voice appropriate for its hearing.
Do Tortoises Have Ears?
Tortoises do have ears, despite popular belief, because their ears are not apparent. However, this is due to the fact that their auditory system is internal.
Tortoises are not among the animals that are born deaf. Only certain cephalopods, such as squids and octopuses, appear to be completely deaf in nature.
Tortoises must be able to hear predators approaching in order to survive. They have their shell, which is an excellent defense mechanism, but it is useless if they can’t even hear their opponent approaching until it’s too late. They can’t always see what’s going on around them, so they rely on their ears to determine whether they’re safe.
There are several hypotheses as to why tortoises lack apparent ears, but the most widely accepted is that their bodies lie low to the ground.
The pinna, which are the fleshy sections of our ears that protrude from our heads, aid in hearing by guiding sound waves into our ears. Tortoises lack this body component because they benefit more from experiencing vibrations throughout their bodies to magnify sound rather than sound waves.
As a result, there is nothing external directing noises into their internal auditory system.
How Does a Tortoise Hear?
Tortoises have an auditory system that is simple but effective.
The auditory system of a tortoise is divided into three parts:
- The middle ear
- The inner ear
The tympanum is a thin membrane that is about 0.25 millimeters in thickness. It’s the only visible feature of a tortoise’s ear because it hides the ear cavity under the tortoise’s eyes.
It does not keep noises from entering the tortoise’s hearing. It aids tortoises in perceiving vibrations and protects the inner ear cavity.
The middle ear is the greatest element of the auditory system in a tortoise. It is the first element of the tortoise’s auditory system to detect vibrations and is located just behind the tympanum.
The vibrations felt by the middle ear are transmitted to the inner ear. The inner is a complicated network of membranes, tubes, tissue, and sinuses.
The pericapsular sinus, an outgrowth of the perilymphatic system, separates it from the middle ear, which lies immediately adjacent to the tortoise’s brain.
One of two cochlear systems that includes inner ear fluid is the perilymphatic system.
Where Are Tortoise Ears Located?
The ears of tortoises are positioned behind the eyes and above the jaw.
It appears as a circular indentation on the sides of the tortoise’s face. Many people believe that nothing exists beneath those indents since they mimic the hollow region of our faces beneath our cheekbones. The indents, on the other hand, are sensitive areas of the tortoise’s face and should be left alone.
When caring for a tortoise, avoid touching its ears. Tortoises enjoy neck rubs, but their ears are quite sensitive. Although they have protective ear flaps that separate their inner ear from the exterior, you should avoid touching them.
It doesn’t mean your turtle is deaf if you can’t see the indents on the sides of its face. Some tortoises have more noticeable indents than others.
Larger tortoise species have more obvious indents because their heads—and thus their hearing system—are larger. The ear flaps of your tortoise should become more visible as it grows.
How Well Can They Hear?
Tortoises have a narrow hearing range that can only perceive 10-182 Hz, according to the German Society for Herpetology and Herpetoculture. Humans can hear between 20 and 20,000 hertz.
Tortoises can hear infrasound at the lower end of the frequency spectrum, which means they can hear low-frequency sounds that humans cannot.
Because of the way tortoises travel through the world, they are equipped to hear sounds at such low frequencies. Because tortoise bodies are always near to the ground, they benefit immensely from detecting ground vibrations rather than airborne sound waves.
Experts believe that tortoises developed to hear sounds at such low frequencies in order to detect predators approaching them from afar. Because they are little creatures, they cannot observe things from their perspective.
However, because of their amazing hearing, they can sense when it’s time to hide to avoid harm. It’s unclear how far they can hear, but specialists believe that the bigger the vibration caused by the sound, the further the tortoise can sense it.
Can Tortoises Hear Humans?
Tortoises can detect human sounds, particularly as humans wander around the house.
Even if they can’t hear what we say when we speak to them in a high-pitched voice, if they’re close enough to the floor, they can feel the vibrations generated by our footfall.
According to research, human clapping is the second most common sound that tortoises respond to, after male voices. This means that if you ever host a party, you need be especially cautious when having visitors around.
Any clapping will be heard by the tortoise, and the noise may stress it out.
Can Tortoises Hear Your Music?
Tortoises enjoy music with low-frequency sounds such as piano, organ, bassoon, and bass guitar. They enjoy opera music, particularly when the performer has a bass-baritone range.
It’s disputed whether tortoises love listening to music because there’s no proof that they do, but there’s also no evidence that they don’t.
The only way to find out if your tortoise enjoys it is to watch its behavior when you play music. If it advances toward the source, it is at least intrigued and not afraid of it.
If it hides or appears stressed, change the tune or turn down the level. Because tortoises are sensitive to vibrations, never install speakers near your tortoise, especially if the music contains a lot of bass sounds.
Are Tortoises Sensitive To Loud Noises?
Tortoises are very sensitive to low-frequency disturbances. Tortoises struggle to perceive frequencies over 182Hz, thus they aren’t as sensitive to high-pitched noises as dogs and cats.
Tortoises are particularly sensitive to sounds in the 117-170Hz range. Humans don’t normally make sounds like that, so you don’t have to worry about scaring your tortoise by making a loud noise. What you should avoid is allowing other creatures to approach the tortoise.
Cats purr with a frequency of 25-150Hz, whilst canines growl at a frequency of 80-300Hz. Your turtle may perceive these sounds as predatory.
If your tortoise hides in its shell or burrow when your other pet makes a disturbance, you should soundproof the room where it is staying.
Tortoises have great hearing, although they’re not as sensitive to high-pitched noises as other animals. They’re mostly attuned to low-frequency sounds so that they can detect predators approaching them.
You should never allow speakers near your tortoise as the vibrations might scare it. If you think your tortoise is reacting badly to a noise, move it to a different room or soundproof its current one.