Turtle Hiccups (3 Causes + What To Do)

All animals, turtles included, make very deliberate movements, your pet won’t usually do something just for the fun of it, and this includes hiccuping. 

If your pet turtle seems to be hiccuping, and you’re worried and concerned as to why this happens then this article should be of help to you.


Turtle hiccups:

Your turtle experiencing hiccups can be quite the surprising and somewhat amusing thing to watch, you may also be curious as to why this happens. 

Here is why your pet turtle may be hiccuping.


It’s just normal breathing: 

Your pet turtle may not be hiccuping at all, it may simply be breathing and the breathing may look like hiccups to you. 

These animals don’t breathe the same way that humans breathe, when turtles, breathe their throat pouch moves up and down. They have to do this action because they don’t have a diaphragm or a flexible ribcage.  

From the outside, the breathing, and thus the action of the throat pouch moving up and down, may look like hiccuping. The breathing also makes the animal’s head move up and down which also looks like a hiccup. What’s happening on the inside is that the throat is forcing air in and out of the lungs. 

The animals may also pump their arms when breathing to help force air in and out of their lungs. 

What to do: 

This is a completely normal thing for the animals to do when the animals breathe  and is not something that you’d need to worry about 

As long as your turtle isn’t showing signs of being ill or distressed then the animals should be fine.


Excited breathing:

If your pet’s hiccuping, it’s breathing, seems faster and more pronounced than normal then the turtles may still be breathing but it may be breathing more because it is excited. 

If something intrigues your turtle then it may breathe more and this may look like hiccuping, more so than when it breathes normally. 

You’ll see the same head bobbing and throat pouch movement in your pet but this will be more dramatic than it would be if the animal was breathing normally. 

The animal may be breathing more heavily because it is observing something that intrigued it and now needs more oxygen and energy so it can investigate what the thing is. 

What to do:

This is also normal behavior and isn’t something that you’d need to worry about. The animal doing this is normal and as long as the turtle is not scared of what it is seeing, and as long as the turtle is excited and curious then your pet is fine. 

Show of dominance: 

If your pet’s hiccups look like bobbing of the head, not movement in the throat, then the animal may be showing its dominance. 

This show of dominance can be a show of dominance over its domain or the hiccups could mean the turtle wants to dominate other turtles. 

This bobbing of the head behavior can also be seen in male turtles who come into contact with a female whom they want to mate with.


What to do:

This is another normal behavior in turtles, as long as the animal is healthy and happy and as long as there are no signs of illness in your pet then the turtle is likely perfectly fine.


If you enjoyed this article then you may also be interested in other turtle/tortoise related articles. Here are some articles that you may be interested in: My Turtle Keeps SplashingWhat Happens If You Drop A Baby TurtleTurtle Hasn’t Eaten In A WeekMy Turtle Escaped His TankMy Turtle Hasn’t Eaten In MonthsWhy Is My Turtle Floating Upside DownHow To Find Lost Turtle In YardCan I Put My Turtle In The Sun?Why Is My Turtle Bleeding From Tail?

Turtle Hiccups (3 Causes + What To Do)
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