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Animal Noises and What They Mean
Humans speak, birds squawk and dogs woof. Even a three-year-old can associate sounds with animals. What is more fascinating is the meanings behind these audio cues.
Experts believe that there’s a complexity behind the sounds animals make, from ways of communicating to expressing their feelings.
If you thought these sounds were arbitrary, then think again – there could be more to a grunt than you think:
Barking up the wrong tree!
When dogs bark, we tend to think they want treats, have seen a bird, or something else trivial! But findings from Psychology Today reveal that there’s much more to a bark than this. Tone, duration, and even pitch offer clues to their meanings. For instance, two to four barks with pauses can indicate an alarm to other dogs, whilst imminent constant barking suggests a problem. Solitary barks with pauses between each are purposely made to alert their owner that they are lonely. And if dogs could speak, a stuttering bark accompanied by flat front legs on the ground and a high rear, is a clear sign that the dog is ready to play!
Birds are probably the most studied animal when it comes to sounds. Ornithologists have trained their ears to tune in to the subtle differences in calls, bleats and squawks, as well as tone, pitch and notes. Bird vocalization experts suggests that there are some identifiable cues. Most often, song can be associated with mating calls or warnings. In many cases, longer calls are identified with courtship. In other cases, such as in young birds leaving the nest, it’s about imitating songs they heard their fathers sing, as they commit it to memory.
This Little Piggy
Old MacDonald will tell you that there’s more to a pig than just its grunt! The different sounds they make reveal different emotions. High pitched squeals tend to be associated with anticipation and excitement – usually about being fed! While whining sounds clearly indicate quite the opposite. These smart affectionate animals are also known to make heavy breathing ‘he hon’ sounds when they are happy to see you — it’s their way of saying “I love you!” While gentle sounds of quiet groans, often heard during feeding their piglets, can be associated with a feeling of comfort.
Our beloved feline friends are some of the most vocal pets in the animal kingdom. Some owners will tell you that their cats are highly vocalized, others not so much. This can often come down to breed, with Burmese, Spyhnx and Siamese among the chattier of the pack! Experts believe that cats have learned how to communicate with their owners through sounds. So, what do these all mean? Short meows tend to be associated with greetings such as “hello,” whilst repeated meows indicate lots of excitement! A slightly lower mid-pitch often suggests a plea, usually food, but a drawn-out meow is more of a demand. And as any cat owner will tell you, loud high pitch meows are not the happiest of cats! Learn more about specific cat sounds here.
If you live near woodland you might have seen the occasional bambini roaming free. The majestic beauty of deer extends to the way they communicate, too. Sniffing sounds have been suggested to put the herd on edge, while snorts indicate danger. Taking it up a level, grunts signify danger, suggesting that it’s time to back off.
Close to the human family, monkeys have been studied in depth over the years. Research has found that they indeed use different calls for different animals to warn each other. This community spirit is said to forewarn other monkeys of the incoming threat.