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'Head Bobbing' behaviour

Discussion in 'Turtle Behaviour' started by Craig, Jan 30, 2014.

  1. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Scientists and researchers have worked out that turtles can use a type of 'echo location' (similar to dolphins) from the waves this 'head bobbing' motion sends out. The turtles can get a 3D view of their enclosure and recognise another turtle by its shape that way.
    They also do this to judge how far away another turtle or a prey item is from themselves.

    Also being able to communicate with each other in their own language, audible to themselves and not us, leaves you thinking that they are really quite advanced (and amazing) and not so primitive after all!


    :arrowright: Click here for video of turtle head bobbing :arrowleft:

    :arrowright: Click here for audible recordings of turtles communicating :arrowleft:

     
  2. TheyAreDudes.

    TheyAreDudes. Senior Turtle

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    Oh! That wasn't what I was expecting. I was expecting a slow head bob, not a fast head flicker, so to speak. Interesting!
     
  3. Gavisgon

    Gavisgon Gavisgon

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    Thanks, very cool.

    Gav
     
  4. Ray231

    Ray231 Adult Turtle

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    These animals never cease to amaze me!
     
  5. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    My Macleays do this to each other something like 1000 times/day. Awesome.
     
  6. Ms Tori

    Ms Tori Hatchling Turtle

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    Fascinating and amazing creatures - Thanks for sharing.
     
  7. Angie86

    Angie86 Egg

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    Can anyone explain why my turtle bobs his head on me? He'll do it on my hand or face mostly.
    I have one male turtle who is very tame, active and handled often. Thank you!
     
  8. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    Hi Angie86,

    Are you sure your turtle is 'head bobbing' and not 'gular pumping' ? I'm just curious, how is your turtle doing this whilst on your face? Do you mean your turtle is actually on your face? Not quite sure what you mean there.
     
  9. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Hello, I doubt what you're seeing is actual head bobbing. Turtles, unlike tortoises exhibit this behaviour underwater. It would have no benefit for them to head bob out of the water as it's a form of echo-location and communication (similar to but not the same as bats) that wouldn't work in open air.
     
  10. Angie86

    Angie86 Egg

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    Thank you all for your help, I honestly don't know what he is doing but he has done it for years. I took a video but I don't seem to be able to upload it without it being uploaded to another site first. He kind of sits his head on my hand (or sometimes if I'm lying down on my back crawls up and sits on my neck and reaches his head out and rests it on my chin or cheeks) and jerks his head up and down. It almost looks as though he's having a seizure at times, but only his head taps up and down sometimes it's more dramatic than others. It looks a lot like what the turtle is doing in the video above. He sometimes does it to inanimate objects out of the water too, but mostly to me.
     
  11. smoyle

    smoyle Adult Turtle
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    So THAT'S what he's doing...my Macleay does this all the time, I assumed it was trying to swallow something until I saw this video. Wow, that's totally cool, thanks!
     
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  12. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    My pair of Macleays and F. purvisi do it virtually all day every day during courtship.
     
  13. GregC

    GregC Hatchling Turtle

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    I see this behaviour in many of my Chelodina, specifically C. mccordi. If I go up to the glass they will approach me and snap their heads repeatedly. I also see them doing this when courting, so it may have more than one purpose.

    I have also seen it with male to female Chelodina (Macrodiremys) colliei when they first saw each other. It was initiated by the male, and was more of a bob, than a quick snap, as with the C. mccordi. Again, breeding occurred shortly thereafter so I would assume it was part of a courting process or greeting.
     
  14. Craig

    Craig Owner/Administrator/Public Officer
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    I agree that it serves more than one purpose. A form of communication as well as to size up prey.
     
  15. GregC

    GregC Hatchling Turtle

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    Definitely. They recognise me as a source of food, and they will repeatedly bite my fingers if I place them in their tanks.
     
  16. Aussiepride83

    Aussiepride83 Administrator
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    Both my pair of Flaviemys purvisi and Emydura macquarii dharra head bob one another during courtship. I've witnessed my Chelodina longicollis head bobbing a couple of inches away from resting fish in the aquariuim after lights out.