Do Turtles Talk?

Turtles seem like the quietest animals out there, which might be why they also seem so grumpy. But scientists have just figured out that turtles talk! Jorgewich Cohen recorded 50 different kinds of turtles in 5 countries. When he listened to the audio, he heard the turtles bleep, grunt, crackle, toot and snort – and in some cases even quack like a duck. We might not hear their quiet crackles and quacks, but the other turtles are talking up a storm.

Wee ones: If your pet turtle Tatiana gives you a bleep, a grunt, a crackle, a toot and a snort, how many sounds does she use to talk to you?

Little kids: If Tango the turtle quacks, then Tiptoe the turtle snorts, then Tango quacks, then Tiptoe snorts to continue the pattern…which turtle makes the 9th sound, and what is it? Bonus: After 24 sounds, how many times has each turtle talked?

Big kids: If your pet turtle Turner makes 23 different sounds this morning, how many more sounds can he make to use all 50 of his sounds? Bonus: If 4 turtles get together, and every turtle talks one on one with each of the other turtles, how many total pairs of turtles can talk? (Don’t worry about the order – any 2 turtles count as one pair)

The sky’s the limit: If 6 turtles get together, and every turtle gets to talk with every one of the other turtles, how many total pairs can chat now?


Wee ones: 5 sounds.

Little kids: Tango quacks for the 9th sound. Bonus: Each turtle has made 12 sounds.

Big kids: 27 more sounds. Bonus: Just 6 pairs. Turtle A talks to B, C and D, making 3 pairs; then B (who already talked to A) has just C and D to talk to, adding 2 pairs; and then C and D make a pair. 3 + 2 + 1 = 6.

The sky’s the limit: 15 pairs. Using the same reasoning as in Big kids, Turtle A talks to B, C, D, E and F, making 5 pairs; Turtle B adds 1 less than that, having already talked to A, so makes 4 more pairs…and so on. 5 + 4 + 3 + 2 + 1 = 15.

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