Do Tortoises & Turtles Like Music

Do Tortoises & Turtles Like Music? Can They Even Hear?

It is not unusual to hear people say they play music around the house when they leave their dog for an extended period. Arguing that the music helps claim the dog when they are away from home. Many pet Behaviour experts advise this practice; however, will it work with tortoises and turtles? I have done some digging on the subject of playing music to your tortoise or turtle. Can they enjoy music? Can they even hear it?

There is no scientific proof that tortoises or turtles like music. However, on the other hand, there is no evidence that they dislike music. Tortoises have been known to respond to music that is regularly played when being fed. It is thought they associate the music with feeding time.

Many factors come into the answer, from the age of the tortoise to their environment. Some will find their tortoise or turtle responds to music, while others will see no effect. We look at the science in a little more detail and how tortoises and turtles react to general sounds.

What Science Says About Tortoises and Music

Science is divided on whether or not a tortoise actually likes music, and the divide makes it unclear if your tortoise can enjoy music or is just responding to other things. When playing a song, a tortoise may show different signs to their owners that they are happy, with an increase of activity when you play music. The debate lies within the music the tortoise likes or the vibrations they are responding to, where science is divided.

The censors are if you play your tortoise music and increase their activity by moving around their enclosure they expressing signs they like the music. On the other hand, if your tortoise retreats to their hide and movement become less, they are showing signs they don’t enjoy the music you are playing. Changing the track or turning the music down may help their enjoyment; if this doesn’t work, turning it off will be the most kind.

Will my tortoise like music?

There is only one way to find this out, and that is to play your tortoise some music as each tortoise will be different from the next. It is believed that tortoises may not like some music, so give other songs a try.

Over the years, I have seen people within the tortoise community play their tortoise the sounds of nature to their tortoise. Finding sounds of their natural habitat is not always easy, so waterfalls or other calming sounds are said to make tortoises display that they are happy with increased activity. However, people say that playing sounds with high frequencies and nature sounds that have bird noises cause their tortoise to retreat to their hide.

I found it interesting that people discovered their tortoise would only come out for food when music was playing. Maybe it was a form of training they hear the music and remember food? Who knows? I sure know it’s a strange one.

A tortoise that is raised with music being played will most likely become used to the sounds. It is the same with loud children or barking dogs; you will find your tortoise will soon adapt to the sounds. The sounds may make them feel safe as they hear the sounds and know there is no danger when they happen.

Can you help a tortoise enjoy music?

As we discovered above, the science is divided on whether a tortoise can like music other than their activity giving us signs. So there is only one way to expand their taste in music, which is to play it to them and check their behavior.

If your tortoise runs to their hide, it is a sure sign they are not liking the music you are playing. Running off to their hide, they are getting somewhere they feel safe to escape the sound. Try changing up the music with a little more base, but nothing too high pitched as this seems to scare tortoises.

Nature tracks seem to be the overwhelming winner track when it comes to the tortoise community. As people find it much harder to find tracks that their tortoise likes rather than stress them. If you struggle to find nature sounds, there are plenty of white noise sounds on YouTube that many claims have the same effect.

The best way to help your tortoise like music is to play it to them as early on in their life as possible. Tortoises are excellent at adapting to their surroundings; that is why they have outlived the dinosaur. Playing the music from the start of their life in your home will get them used to it. Slowly getting to know it’s a safe sound and have nothing to fear.

Is there any harm in playing music for my tortoise?

If you ask this question, you are a responsible tortoise owner, as some will not bother to ask.

With that said, No, it will do your tortoise no harm playing music for them. People within the tortoise community say their tortoise will show signs of stress when playing some music or nature sounds. However, there is no scientific evidence that your tortoise doesn’t like music. If you feel the music is stressing out your tortoise, simply swish it off.

After all, you are a responsible tortoise owner, and if you feel they don’t like the music or it is stressing them out, you will quickly turn it off.

What Do Tortoises Hear?

Tortoises don’t hear like humans and listen to noises more by their sound frequencies. We can assume why tortoises may react more to songs with a high base and more significant vibrations if we use this knowledge. Tortoises use their smell and sight more than their hearing. But the hearing they do have allows them to hear the thudding of predators.

Can your tortoise hear you?

This is a question for a whole new post, but there is a misconception that tortoises are deaf to the human voice. After all, how can this even be true if they pick up the sound by sound frequencies which your voice makes when you talk. The tortoise is unlikely to understand you, and I feel this is where the misconception may come from.

A tortoise smell is one of their better senses, and your tortoise is more likely to smell you than hear you. If you bring them food and are hungry, they will likely rush to see you or, more likely, the food when they smell it.

Are tortoises sensitive to loud sounds?

Yes, tortoises are sensitive to loud sounds despite hearing not being their most active sense. Loud bangs or high pitch noises like shouting from a child can cause a tortoise to become stressed. The younger a tortoise is exposed to unfamiliar noises, the better they will cope with them.

Do tortoises understand music?

No, they don’t understand music the same way a human will understand the lyrics. However, they will be able to distinguish the different sound frequencies that a piece of music produces. A tortoise can enjoy these different sound frequencies and display enjoyment with increased activity.


There are no hard and fast rules what music your tortoise will or will not like, but nature sounds are thought to be best. Science is divided on whether or not a tortoise or turtle can enjoy music. However, it is a fact that they can pick up on the different sound frequencies greeted by the music.

If you want to try out playing music to your tortoise or turtle, then keep an eye on their behavior. Moving around a lot more is a sign they like the music. A tortoise or turtle running to their hide is a sign they don’t enjoy the music, and you should try a different song.

If you have a young tortoise, there is a thought that they can become used to many different songs. As the sounds become normal to them and they know it’s a safe sound. Older tortoises are a lot harder to adapt to sounds they may not first like as they are set in their ways.