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Critter Communication: Interesting ways in which animals ‘talk’ to each other

Team StoryWeavers|August 11, 2022, 17:07 IST|

We all love a good chat with our friends, don’t we? Whether it’s laughing at an inside joke or asking for help, talking to our loved ones is one of the best parts of life. But have you wondered what it must be like for our friends in the animal kingdom? How do they communicate with each other and do they also love hanging out with their friends? Many animals are known to communicate with each other, and we have picked out some of the most interesting instances of animal communication. Read on to find out more!

White Rhinos Use Dung to Communicate

White rhinos have terrible eyesight and are known to use communal dung heaps to communicate with each other. Called “middens,” these dung piles function as a community bulletin board where they leave important messages that need to be communicated to the group, for example when a rhino is sick or ready to mate.

African Elephants Send out Vibrations

We know elephants can communicate, but how do they do this? Elephants make a very low-frequency sound to one another called “infrasound” (sounds below 20 hertz). The sounds are so low that it reaches human ears like a rumbling vibration. Researchers estimate that a single African elephant can make infrasounds that can be heard by another more than 250 kilometres away.

Sperm Whales Click

This specific species of whale uses “codas” to communicate with one another. Codas are clicking sounds and according to research different groups of sperm whales have differing clicking patterns, based on where they are in the ocean. Think of it like sperm whale dialects! Researchers are now conducting studies on a particular group of sperm whales near the Caribbean island of Dominica, which have been found to have variations in codas between different clans or individual whales!

Crows Love to Chat

Crows might be commonplace but they are also smart creatures who communicate with each other quite a bit! They communicate with a wide variety of sounds and movements. Other than the “caw” sound, they also use rattles, clicks, and patterns to communicate messages. Just as humans use their hands, ravens are known to use their beaks and wings to emphasize a point or to offer items such as moss, stones or twigs to members of the opposite sex. As a show of potential bonding, they also interact by clasping their bills together or moving an item together. Their complex intraspecies communication system reflects their complex social life!

Bisons let their Feet do the Talking

European bison use their feet to talk, and no we aren’t kidding! When a bison herd needs to move in a direction, they use a unique system to communicate between each other. No leader decides the direction, rather a single bison performs a complex process in which they walk 20 or more steps in a particular direction without stopping to graze. If the others trust the decision, they follow the bison. This act can be perfomed by any bison in the herd and not just the leader.. Quite democratic, don’t’ you think?

Egyptian Fruit Bats Love to Argue

Bats use high-pitched squeals to communicate that can get very specific depending on the communication. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have used machine-learning to recognize and analyse messages bats send to one another. By translating over 15,000 calls they discovered that more than 60 percent of bat communication were arguments about food, sleep positions or invasion of personal space! Not so different from humans, are they?

Caribbean Reef Squid Change Colours

Caribbean Reef Squid have special cells that contain pigments and light-reflecting molecules known as chromatophores. These aids them in changing the colour of their skin when they need to send messages. These messages generally have to do with finding a mate or warning others of danger. They also communicate specific messages to individual squids and not just the group, with a squid sending out one message to a squid on their left and a different one to a squid on their right.

Chimpanzees Gesture a Lot

Not just chimps, but apes and monkeys have long been known to communicate with each other. Chimps are social creatures so it makes sense they have many ways to communicate, from using their limbs to indicate actions like climbing on them, to grooming each other. In fact, chimps perform something called “referential gesturing” to show another chimp the specific area they’d like to have groomed. Researchers have isolated some 80 gestures, many of whom significantly overlap with human toddlers!

Bees Make Great Dancers

We all know how important bees are for our ecosystem, but it’s time we honour our buzzy friends for another one of their talents – dancing. There is research going back centuries that note how bees perform movements and actions that look like a special dance. A famous study discovered that when a bee finds a new honey source, it goes back to the hive to perform a dance while other bees touch its abdomen. This allows the other bees to find the honey source without needing to be shown where the source is. And the coolest part? The direction and speed of the dance indicates specific geolocation details that are needed to reach the source!

Did you like finding out about the various ways of unique animal communication? Do you know of any other interesting ways in which animals communicate? Tell us which one you think is the most interesting in the comments section below.

And if you loved reading about animals, read these to find out more!

Today in Evolution: Elephants Lose Their Tusks!

Collectively Speaking – Have You Heard of These Collective Nouns for Animals?

Can Your Cat or Dog Tell What Time It Is? The Answer Will Amaze You!

About the Author


Adrija is a writer, dancer, and artist, who loves to learn (about everything). She has grown up in many places and still carries a big love for all things travel and culture. Adrija loves fantasy, science-fiction and anything that transports her to magical worlds. Her favourite books include Harry Potter and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. She’s always on the lookout for cute animals to pet, places to explore, and good humans to share stories, laughter, and joy with.

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