How do animals communicate with each other? While Old McDonald may have taught us that on a farm, cats meow, dogs woof and cows moo, what he forgot to mention is that animal communication is infinitely more complex than that. In fact, when you discover how some creatures talk to each other, you will find a secret language that makes the languages of humanity – adding to a total of 6,900, rudimentary by comparison. Let’s take a look at the way these 15 phenomenal animals communicate with one another.
1. White Rhinos Speak via Dung
White rhinos have terrible eyesight and to communicate they use communal dung heaps as a something of a community bulletin board where they can leave messages. This will indicate whether a rhino is sick, or another is ready to mate, or if a dominant male has recently wandered through.
2. Sperm Whales Click
This species of whale use clicking sounds, known as ‘codas’ to pass on information to one another. Those in different areas of the ocean use different clicking patterns, similar to regional dialects. This means that Caribbean sperm whales sound slightly different than those in another part of the ocean. Researchers have been particularly interested in a group near the Caribbean island of Dominica. They discovered that there are different variations between different clans or individual whales.
3. Caterpillars Send Out Decoy Distress Calls to Ants
The caterpillar of the Alcon blue butterfly has a fascinating way of communicating. It scrapes its abdomen to create a kind of song. However, unlike many other critters, who use their communication techniques to contact others of their species. This is a message meant for a different creature: the red ant. The song imitates that of the red ant queen. Because of this, the soldier ants that hear it will guard the caterpillar and even kill their own kind in order to protect it.
4. African Elephants Vibrate to Each Other
Elephants make very low sounds to one another. They’re so low, that it does not strike the human ear as a sound, rather it sounds like a rumbling vibration. This is known as infrasound’ – sounds that are below 20 hertz and are too low for humans to detect. While this way of communicating may seem quiet to humans, researchers estimate that one African elephant making infrasound can be heard by another that is more than 175 miles away.
5. Ravens Have Sign Language
Just as humans use their hands to emphasize a point, ravens do their own kind of gesticulating using their beaks and wings to show or offer items such as moss, stones or twigs – this is usually aimed at a member of the opposite sex. They also interact by clasping their bills together or moving an item together, as a show of potential bonding.