18 August 2014
Scientists in Brazil have recorded river turtles apparently talking to each other underwater. They make different noises depending on what they're doing and whether they're with adults or young turtles. Researchers from The Wildlife Conservation Society believe that the turtles might use sound to exchange information.
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This muffled creak is what researchers heard repeatedly when they listened to giant South American river turtles swimming together. It could help explain how the animals coordinate their behaviour so well in the nesting season, when females gather in large groups at beaches before laying their eggs.
The researchers used microphones above and below the water to record the turtles at different stages in the season. And when the newly hatched turtles and adults were together in the river, scientists heard a different sound.
This, they think, is parents guiding newly hatched babies on their first migration. The researchers also say that their study shows how vulnerable turtles could be to man-made noise disturbing this quiet but seemingly vital chatter.
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(of a sound) not very loud or clear
sound like a wooden door being opened
- nesting season
period in which birds or animals make their homes (nests), lay eggs and care for babies
when a baby animal or bird comes out of its shell
- migration (of animals or birds)
movement from one area to another, usually when the season changes
(of animals or birds) short, repeated noises