What Types of Sounds Do Animals Make?


Quick Answer

Animals make sounds with their bodies and with objects, such as when a coyote howls, when a bird chirps, when a cat purrs, or when an alligator roars and smacks the water with its head. Animals make sounds for the same reason humans do: communication.

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Full Answer

Certain animal sounds register contentedness, send territorial warnings to other animals and attract mates. Dogs often growl and bark when a stranger enters their territory, and squirrels warn off uninvited guests with loud rattles, screeches and yips.

Frogs sing to attract mates, and the male Caribbean white-lipped frog adds some rhythm to his courtship music. He buries his rear in mud, keeping his head and front legs slightly elevated. Each note he chirps causes his vocal sac to expand and contract, which hits the ground, making an accompanying vibration.

Male jumping spiders make sounds by vibrating or rubbing together certain body parts and making drumming noises on the ground to attract mates. These sounds induce females to mate and, maybe, deter them from eating the males.

When confronted with predators, African elephants stomp the ground and loudly trumpet the presence of danger, which other elephants detect through ground vibrations from miles away. Banner-tailed kangaroo rats also sometimes communicate by foot-drumming on the ground. The sound may warn their young of a potential danger, such as a snake, or the sound may warn the snake to search elsewhere to find its next meal.

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