Tortoises do some crazy things from splashing around in the water to stretching their necks out randomly
One thing they do that tortoise owners have spoke about is hissing!
Yep that’s right a tortoise hissing
Question is – Why Do Tortoises Hiss?
Turtles do not have vocal cords and the hissing noise you hear is expelled air as they retract their head into the shell.
Turtles will make a hiss when they are scared and they quickly retract their head.
They can also make hissing noises while eating food when moving their head quickly.
Tortoises can hiss because they have a gland called Jacobson’s organ located near their throat.
This gland produces a liquid that sounds similar to air escaping through a hose.
The sound is made when this liquid mixes with air.
Let’s get into more detail why a tortoise would hiss
Let’s get started!
Fear Not Anger
Tortoises do not hiss at each other; instead, they hiss when they are frightened.
They also hiss when they see danger approaching.
This warning sound helps them escape predators before they get hurt.
A tortoise makes a low rumbling noise when frightened or threatened.
This is called a “growling” because it sounds similar to the way a dog would bark at a stranger.
A tortoise will quickly retreat into its shell when feeling threatened.
It is very similar to breathing when we feel something bad is going to happen.
We can take in a large gulp of air making a sound.
What makes a tortoise hiss? What causes it?
A tortoise does not have a vocal cord; why would they?
They cannot speak because they lack this feature.
Therefore, making sounds seems rather odd to you, or even impossible.
Your tortoise has been making noises because it is expelling air from its lungs.
As soon as they quickly retract their heads into their shells, air is rapidly expelled from their bodies making a loud hissing sound.
Your tortoise lungs are filled with air, which fills its body and to fit its head inside its shell, it must be quickly expelled.
This causes the sound that sounds like a hiss.
Tortoises do not breathe through their heads; therefore, if they didn’t expel all the air from their bodies quickly, they wouldn’t be able to comfortably fit their heads into their shells.
This could potentially leave their heads exposed and vulnerable to predators.
Is it normal for tortoises to hiss?
Yep! It’s pretty normal for a tortoise to hiss
Tortoises can hiss when they are frightened.
This is because they rapidly move their heads back and forth inside their shells.
The sound they make while doing this is called “hissing.”
Their bodies are covered in scales, which makes them appear rough and scaly.
It is something that can take you by surprise when you first hear it but it is something they do.
If it happens frequently, it may be worth checking if something is scaring them that is causing them issues.
Tortoises that get too scared often end up becoming stressed and this can lead to many more issues.
What does it mean when your tortoise hisses?
A hiss from a tortoise usually indicates that they are frightened and trying to get away.
Their exhalation of breath causes the noise.
A tortoise that is constantly being frightened can quickly become stressed.
I would find out what is causing them to become afraid.
Other animals can frighten your tortoise and you will need to keep them away from your tortoise until they get used to one and another.
Children can also cause tortoise distress and alarm.
They tend to move quickly and this can scare a tortoise that hasn’t been around kids.
Why is my tortoise hissing at me?
If a tortoise hisses at you it means they are showing you they are scared
Something about you is scaring them which causes them to hiss
This hissing behavior can be stopped by making slow movements and giving rewards for positive interactions.
It might seem like they don’t care about you but if this continues you’ll have to take matters into your own hands and try something new.
Tortoises are reptiles and not mammals, so petting them isn’t appropriate.
If they are hissing at you, it means they don’t like it.
Remember, we are going to look quite large to a small tortoise.
A tortoise will naturally react negatively to sudden movements and quick hand motions toward him.
He will also require extra caution around strangers and unfamiliar environments.
Your tortoise can also show signs they are scared if they run away to their hiding spot when they see you.
Pet owners often worry about whether their pets will like them, but this concern can be dealt with.
Treats are great for getting along with others, but you need to be careful not to overdo it.
Overfeeding your pet can cause health issues, so give him or her only what he or she needs.
Although the occasional piece of fruit or melon helps you bond with your turtle, avoid giving them too much food.
This could lead to obesity issues.
Slow down your movement speed compared to how fast you move around your home.
This will reduce the chances of scaring your tortoise.
So, while the hissing of a tortoise is perfectly normal, we need to keep an eye on it that it doesn’t happen too often.
If your tortoise continues to hiss at you, you will need to modify your behavior around him/her.
Whatever you do, you must not scare your tortoise.
If he/she is being aggressive, try to ignore him/her until he/she calms down.
New tortoises are often more afraid of their owners than old ones.
If you get to know your tortoise and give him some treats, he’ll probably feel safer around you.
Hissing sounds aren’t usually anything to worry about, but if they happen frequently then you should contact a professional and seek their advice