Do Turtles Have Ears?

Turtles do not possess the ability to hear, and it is commonly believed that hearing is not commonly associated with turtles.

So, do turtles possess auditory organs?

Indeed, they do.

Although they may not possess external ears like dogs, cats, and even humans do, they do possess internal ears.

It is difficult to even imagine the lack of holes in a turtle’s head, as its sides are as smooth as the ears of a companion who has yet to arrive.

So, are turtles capable of hearing?

Absolutely, they have the ability to do so.

As numerous turtle caretakers may be aware, turtles are especially sensitive to loud sounds (and sounds in general).

To achieve a more comprehensive comprehension of the ear’s anatomy, it is imperative to conduct a more detailed analysis of how a turtle’s ears operate.

Quick Reference Section

The turtle’s internal ear

Have you ever pondered – “how do turtles perceive sound?” In this segment, we will endeavor to address this inquiry.

Turtles are adept at producing and detecting low-frequency sounds, as they are particularly sensitive to these frequencies. To understand how turtles hear, it is important to comprehend how the ears of a turtle function and how they are able to perceive sound.

These low-pitched sounds are crucial for navigating and communicating.

Baby sea turtles of several species including the arrau use low-frequency communication to attract adult females who guide and protect the hatchlings.

How a turtle’s ear works

The outer ears of a turtle capture sound waves through flaps of skin. The ear of the turtle is composed of several distinct parts, including the middle ear and the inner ear.

The lack of external ears in turtles has a negative effect on their range of hearing. In comparison, the external ear of a human is shaped to draw sound waves into the inner ear.

Turtles have thin flaps on the sides of their heads and these cover flaps are called cutaneous plates, which also serve as openings for the turtle’s ears. However, other turtles have flaps on different parts of their bodies.

The assistance provided by the middle ear facilitates the transmission of sound waves captured by the flaps to the inner ear. The skin on the remaining part of the turtle’s head bears resemblance to the aforementioned.

The turtle is capable of reacting to it and producing sound. The inner ear is responsible for transmitting and processing the sound waves for the brain to interpret.

The turtle’s predators are alerted by the vibrations or sound waves, which help the turtle navigate its surroundings and detect potential prey.

The nature of a turtle’s ears prevents them from hearing sounds like the chirping of birds, which typically have frequencies ranging from 1,000 Hz to 8,000 Hz. Nevertheless, turtles can still perceive vibrations and low-frequency sounds, like the ones produced by drums.

How turtles hear underwater

Turtles rely on a thick layer of fat and skin to survive harsh conditions. This layer, known as the subcutaneous fatty layer, is located underneath the flaps. It helps them stay buoyant in water.

Turtles in the sea and freshwater are better at hearing on land compared to underwater, as the sound becomes extremely good like that of a skilled conductor, but when in the water, their fat and skin affect this ability.

The turtle’s hearing range

Sounds that have frequencies higher than 1000 Hz do not elicit a strong response from turtles. Consequently, turtles appear to have an auditory range that spans from 200 to 750 Hz.

In contrast, humans are capable of perceiving frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. Studies conducted on green sea turtles indicate that their auditory sensitivity is highest within the range of 200 Hz to 500 Hz.

The turtle’s hearing is relatively limited, as demonstrated in the video below where frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz are visually displayed and audibly reproduced.

The turtle’s other major senses

Developed more their hearing than are which smell and sight of senses their on rely turtles, hearing limited their for compensate to.

Mates and lays eggs repeatedly, returning to the same shore, they utilize this sense to imply that the turtle possesses a remarkably keen sense of smell.

Mates recognize each other by scent and locate food, while their sense of smell assists them in navigating their environment. Additionally, their sense of sight is also essential for the turtle’s existence.

Shapes and designs, various sizes and colors can distinguish between them. Turtles have excellent vision and sense of smell, but their hearing may not be as good.

One common query among turtle owners is “Is it possible for my turtle to hear and react to my presence?”

According to the accessible proof, it is extremely likely that your turtle can perceive you when you approach the enclosure to offer it nourishment.

It might even react to your footsteps, motion, and voice as it learns to connect you with nourishment.

You may need to depend on your turtle’s responsiveness to you when it comes to your relationship and how it interacts with you. Unfortunately, there is no research or data available on this matter.

Typically, interactions with turtles, pythons, cats, and dogs are restricted, unlike display pets which are turtles. Keepers usually inform me about this as a first-time pet owner.

Ear Infections in Turtles

As turtles possess auditory organs, they have the potential to develop ear infections, particularly middle ear infections.

This is referred to as an aural abscess, which appears as a lump on the side of the turtle’s head. When left untreated, an infected area within the ear cavity develops into a dry and hard pus. This infection is common among box turtles and freshwater turtles.

It is important to treat an aural abscess as soon as possible because if left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of the head, including the jaw and skull, and even cause swelling of the membrane over the head.

Causes & prevention of ear infection

This is usually due to the turtle’s inadequate diet and/or poor husbandry. An ear infection is a sign that the turtle has a weakened immune system.

Vitamin A is essential when it comes to ear infection. Multivitamins and minerals like vitamin D and calcium complement the turtle’s diet.

Commercial turtle foods like Mazuri Aquatic Turtle Diet and Reptomin Floating Food Sticks contain the perfect amount of vitamin A.

However, if the turtle primarily consumes insects, plants, and leafy vegetables, then be sure to provide additional nourishment.

It is important to regularly change the water in the aquarium, but it is not enough to rely solely on the filter to keep the water clean. Poor husbandry here refers to inadequate sanitation.

Moreover, the aquarium itself requires regular cleaning. It is crucial to maintain a strict schedule that you adhere to meticulously.

Check out our manual on how to sanitize a turtle enclosure here for additional suggestions.

The bacterial infection has the potential to advance and harm the defensive coating. This could be attributed to an unfriendly roommate or objects present in the fish tank.


Some signs of an ear infection comprise:

  • Inflammation around the eardrum.
  • Decreased appetite – as the turtle experiences discomfort when trying to open its mouth and consume nourishment.
  • Ocular inflammation, and.
  • Dense purulent material can be seen through the eardrum.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment

    After identifying the cause of the infection, the veterinarian may even need to draw blood and perform a thorough examination in the lab. It is advisable to consult a trained professional for the best treatment and diagnosis of ear infections.

    The doctor may have to carry out a procedure on the turtle to eliminate any pus, and the hollow space will be rinsed with sterile saline solution.

    It will take a few weeks for the dermal membrane to recover.

    If you want to see what the surgery looks like and if you want to know the steps explained by a veterinarian from Singapore, this video is a graphic demonstration that you may not want to watch.


    Sounds hear and they do have ears, turtles with associate we things last the of one is hearing or ears turtles with.

    Due to their commitment to auditory tasks, their restricted cognitive capacity and the uncomplicated structure of their inner and middle ear, encompassing various elements, play a role in their absence of outer ears and the distinct manner in which they accomplish this in contrast to other creatures.

    Therefore, turtles are capable of recognizing and differentiating between sounds of lower frequencies most effectively.

    Turtles have a hearing range that extends from 200 to 750 Hz. Despite this limited spectrum, turtles are capable of communicating with each other.

    Their other senses, namely vision and olfaction, are the most dependable. Grown-ups can perceive vibrations that alert them to potential threats, while infants vocalize to attract the attention of mature females.

    Lack of vitamin A and inadequate sanitation are the primary factors contributing to this issue. Turtles may experience ear infections as well. Lastly,

    To help prevent ear infections, ensure that the turtle’s diet is always clean, with enough water and enclosure, as well as sufficient macronutrients and vitamins.

    If you possess any extra details or inquiries, please feel free to leave a comment down below.