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Today We Learned: Jurassic Park Raptors Make Noises Not Unlike Tortoises Having Sex

Next time you watch, I hope you have this mental image in your head.


I say “not unlike” because it is. It is the noise tortoises make when having sex. It is exactly that noise.

This story’s a bit old, but in the wake of the upcoming Jurassic World, it’s an important one not to forget: according to an interview Strange Magic director and Lucasfilm sound designer Gary Rydstrom gave to Vulture back in 2013, making dinosaur sounds from scratch was no small feat and required a lot of—err, creativity, let’s say. Like the barking noises the velociraptors make to communicate with one another? It’s a tortoise having sex.

No, really. That’s what he said.

“It’s somewhat embarrassing, but when the raptors bark at each other to communicate, it’s a tortoise having sex,” said Rydstrom. “It’s a mating tortoise! I recorded that at Marine World … the people there said, ‘Would you like to record these two tortoises that are mating?’ It sounded like a joke, because tortoises mating can take a long time. You’ve got to have plenty of time to sit around and watch and record them.”

But wait! There’s more! In a more recent interview with FT Gate to promote Strange Magic, Rydstorm elaborated:

“When it comes in the kitchen and it barks. “Arp! Arp!” That’s the sound of a tortoise that is mating. […] The male tortoise would go up, and then fall off, and then go back again. It’s riding on the back of the female tortoise. So it’s climbing up her shell basically, and then it falls off. It’s a little sexual.”

I always thought tortoise sex sounded more like a old. wheezing balloon being forcibly deflated one fart at a time, but maybe the Marine World tortoises are a little more… um… arp-y. Arp-ish? Liable to arp.

Tortoises are not the only animal Rydstrom stole sound from to create his raptors—in addition to the occasional horse breath, that hiss Muldoon hears right before he dies is from a goose.

“Birds make pretty raspy sounds, but geese are famous for being the nastiest,” he noted. “You’ve got to get a goose mad and then they hiss at you, and it doesn’t take much to get a goose mad because they seem to get mad at everything.” Sounds about right for a raptor, then.

(via CNET, image via Katie Bradley at Mossy Tortoise)

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