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Why can each animal make its own sound?

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Bark. Chirp. Roar. Meow. These animal sounds are unique and unforgettable.

Animals make sounds, also known as calls and songs, in order to communicate with one another! Animals communicate with each other for a variety of reasons, such as calling their young, warning other animals of nearby predators, attracting mates, and claiming territories. But why do different animals make their own sounds?

It is important for different types of animals to create their own sounds because they need their own special language in order to safely and effectively communicate with one another. Sometimes animals even need to communicate without seeing each other! Imagine being lost in the woods and needing to find your family by following the sound of your parents' calls. What if your Mom's calling voice sounded the same as the growl of a grizzly bear? Yikes, that could even be dangerous!

The differences in the bodies of animals also help explain why their calls are different from one another. For example, the size of an animal's head influences the type of sound it makes. The smaller the head of the animal, the higher the frequency of the sound it creates. While there are birds that make low sounds, think about a bird's chirp in comparison to the low roar of a much larger lion! The shape and strength of animals' noise-making body parts also influence the types of sounds they make. For example, elephants can slap their ears against the sides of their heads to call their babies, and they also make rumbling noises with their throats and long trunks! Hopping creatures such as rabbits and kangaroos create thumping sounds with their strong hind legs. One thing is for sure: Animal sounds are all around us!

by Mya Kagan (Whyzz writer)

Exploration

Now it's time to be a backyard biologist!

Go on a quiet walk in your yard, or ask an adult to join you on a neighborhood journey. Be on the lookout for local critters. You may want to choose a time of day when the creatures are fairly active, such as the morning hours. Can you hear any of the neighborhood animals making their sounds? Start with the birds. How many different types of chirps and songs can you hear? Can you see the birds as they call, noting the types of birds that make specific sounds?What about the squirrels? Sometimes squirrels make a barking noise when they sense cats, dogs or potential predators nearby. At times, squirrels even squeak as they chase one another through the treetops. Are there other animals you hear as you take your walk? Barking dogs? Meowing cats? Enjoy learning about the many creatures around you!

Sources

Communication in Animals. Young Peoples Trust for the Environment.What Sounds Do Animals Make?. Teachers' Domain