We often wonder if animals can communicate with each other or if they understand the language of the humans.
The answer to the question is that the animals don’t particularly have any language but they do communicate with each other. Communication is essential for the survival of all the species on earth. As for animals, they use signs and signals to communicate.
• Types of signs
• Visual signals
• Communication through smell
Animals use a chemical known as Pheromone for communicating through smell. Pheromone is a Greek word, phero- to bear and mone- hormone.
This signal is passed between members of same species. They are used by animals to give various signs like marking own territory, leaving a trail of Pheromones to mark their path, alarm for threats and also to attract male and female species for mating.
The trail of Pheromones should be renewed again and again because it evaporates quickly.
Examples of animals using Pheromones:
• Ants mark their paths with Pheromones for other ants to follow and reach to the point where the source of food is available.
• The butterfly Edith’s checker spot use Pheromones for mating. The virgin female species release Pheromone to attract male species for mating.
• Communication through touch
This form of communication is called Tactile communication. In case of poor vision or hearing, physical communication proves to be very important. Touching in animals is used in different contexts like defense, mating, playing, etc
Examples of animals using sense of touch:
• Elephants rub their ears to one another when in a playful mode or they poke their tusks to show aggression.
• Mammals stroke or rub themselves against each other to initiate mating.
• Ants tap each other with their antina or foreleg and lead to the source of food.
• Communication through sound
Auditory communication is used by animals as well as birds. The everyday sounds that we hear like barking, meowing, chirping, etc. Each have a unique purpose.
Examples of animals and using sonic signal:
• The crocking of the bullfrogs is to signal that they are finding love.
• Vervet monkeys from Eastern Africa warn others when they spot predator species nearby by a different type of call.
• Gorillas hum to show happiness.
• Communication through the sense of vision
Visual communications are communication that can be seen by others like colour, body posture, gestures and facial expressions.
Examples of animals using visual communications:
• Dogs perking up their ears is the sign of alertness. When in attack mode, their eyes is fixed on the target with wrinkles on their forehead.
• The size of the antlers of the male white tailed deer determines power. The bigger the antler the more powerful the deer is for another male deer.
• Gorillas stick their tongue out when they are angry.
• The male peacock spreading its feathers and dancing signifies its need of mating.
Hence, animals talk with each other. Maybe we don’t always understand them but they have a unique way in sending every possible type of signal to communicate.