Do Turtles Snore? How & Why?

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Have you ever noticed your pet turtle wheezing when asleep? I am sure many of you have, and it freaked you out. But, if you ask an expert, he will tell you it is the sound of your pet’s snoring. But do turtles snore?

Turtles snore like many other animals, and it is totally healthy. On breathing, air passes via their respiratory tract and vibrates the tissues in the system. As a result, a shallow, wheezing noise comes out of the pets as a snore.

In humans, snoring is connected to obesity and sometimes indicates illnesses. Is it the same for the turtles too? Also, do sea turtles snore? Give the below article a quick read to find out.

Do Turtles Snore?

I know it sounds weird but yes. Turtles snore when they are asleep. But more surprisingly, turtles are not the only animals that snore. There are dogs and rabbits who make snoring noises when asleep.

However, turtle snoring is barely recognizable, and many species do not snore at all. As a result, most owners have no idea that their little pets snore and dream at night.

But why do you think the keepers do not recognize the snoring in their turtles? Well, it is because of the sound. The first time I heard my turtle snoring, I thought it had respiratory issues. However, with time I got used to it as I knew my turtle was just enjoying its sleep.

If you think biologically, a snoring turtle makes total sense. The respiratory system of this creature has cheeks and tissues just like us humans. So, when a turtle breathes, the passing air flutters, creating a shallow noise. With age, this fluttering frequency increases, and the snoring noise becomes more audible.

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You can not expect your turtle to snore all day. This creature only snores when in a deep sleep at night. You will hear no such noise when the turtle rests or basks under the lamp.

There is one thing you should remember. Snoring is healthy until it turns into crying, whistling, and discharge comes out of its nose or mouth. Such a condition indicates that your pet is sick and requires immediate care.

How Do Turtles Snore?

As I have already said, the passing of air while sleeping is behind the snoring of a turtle. The air causes vibration in the tissues and membranes of the respiratory system leading to this wheezing-like sound.

The baby and young turtles are not very loud with their snores. But when it comes to the adult ones, you can hear them loud and clear. However, it does not apply to all turtles.

I have seen many adult turtles who snore quietly in a hissing manner. But, on the other hand, many young turtles snore their hearts out.

When the turtles are loud, the snoring sounds similar to the snores of other animals. But, again, the snoring of sea turtles is a bit different. The noise is more muffled and shallow.

Why Do Turtles Snore?

Like us, turtles also do not snore purposely. Instead, this is a natural process for most turtles.

The respiratory system of the turtles contains cheeks and membranes that vibrate on air passage. That internal vibration comes out as a wheezing noise, which we call a snore.

There is absolutely nothing to worry about if your turtle snores every night. In fact, you should be happy that the pet is enjoying its sleep.

However, sometimes this shallow snore comes with a mucus discharge. Any mucus discharge from the mouth or nose indicates health issues like respiratory illness. 

When Do Turtles Snore?

Turtles snore during sleep. Though most turtles snore at night, the owners barely realize it. This is because turtles are not very loud. In fact, you can only hear the snoring if you stand closer to the tank.

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A resting turtle does not snore as they are not in a deep sleep. Yes, it can relax on the ground with closed eyes and doze off. But it is just a nap, not a long sleep.

Turtles are diurnal creatures. Therefore, they do all their regular activities during the day and sleep peacefully at night. Their sleep cycle includes 4 – 6 hours of sleep. Consequently, you will likely find your pet turtles snoring during this timeframe.

Is Snoring And Obesity Linked?

You know what they say. You snore if you are fat. Well, though that rule works for humans, they do not apply to turtles.

But yes, you can not guarantee it. Researchers are working on this theory, and we hope to find any relation between these two factors soon.

Does Turtle Snoring Indicate Illness?

Snoring in turtles is not abnormal or unhealthy. In fact, it is a natural thing for most turtle species. When these creatures sleep, the passing air via the respiratory tract leads to a vibration in the tissue. Hence, you hear the wheezing snore.

However, snoring can indicate illness if the sound imitates sneezing, whistling, crying, etc., with discharge.

Have you ever heard of respiratory infection in turtles? It occurs if the turtles suffer from prolonged hypovitaminosis A and their lungs get infected by bacteria. As a part of the disease, these pets exhibit the following signs,

  • Weight loss
  • Appetite loss
  • Fear of swimming
  • Frequent basking
  • Wheezing
  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Open mouth breathing
  • Discharge from mouth and eyes
  • Swelled up eyes, etc.

So, if your turtle shows any of the above symptoms with snoring, the pet has a respiratory illness. This disease can become severe when ignored. Even the sick turtle can die because of this infectious disease.

Though deadly, treatment is available for respiratory infections. Some vets believe a turtle can never completely recover from this disease. So it is because respiratory illness does some permanent damage to the lungs of the turtles.

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The recovery process of the turtles starts with cleaning up the habitat. Then you have to make some arrangements to keep the enclosure warm. Finally, feeding the pets right will speed up the healing journey. Next, vets can suggest medications depending on the condition of the turtles.

Red Eared Slider Sleeping Habit

Do Turtles Snore While Hibernating?

Turtles snore when they are in a deep sleep. So, they must snore while hibernating. Right? But no. turtles do not snore during hibernating.

It is because turtles do not pass air via their respiratory organs when they hibernate. Instead, they utilize their cloaca or butt tissues to exchange gases. As a result, there is no vibration in the lung cheeks and membranes and no snoring noise.

Do Sea Turtles Snore?

Like all other turtles, sea turtles also snore when asleep. However, sea turtles have the habit of doing activities during the day and sleeping at night (except for a few species). So, you will find the sea turtles snoring at night.

However, there is a slight difference in their snoring noise. It is more muffled and not like wheezing.

Do Tortoises Snore?

Unlike their close relatives, tortoises do not snore. But yes, you will find a shallow whistling sound when these pets sleep.

Yes, of course. Tortoises also have cheeks and membrane tissues on their respiratory tract. But the vibration is damper and does not create that wheezing noise. Instead, the whistling sound occurs when the tortoise exhales the air.

However, if your tortoise makes sneezing or wheezing sounds when asleep, take it to a vet for a checkup.

Conclusion

Turtles snore, and it is normal. If you hear your pet snoring at night, do not panic thinking it is sick. However, snoring sometimes can indicate illness if mucus discharge and swollen eyes are accompanied. In such a case, you should take the turtle to a vet immediately.

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About Author

Muntaseer Rahman started keeping pet turtles back in 2013. He also owns the largest Turtle & Tortoise Facebook community in Bangladesh. These days he is mostly active on Facebook.

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