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You'll Never Guess How the World Sounds to Animals

The world sounds totally wild to animals

By Abdul Hannan SaifPublished about a month ago 3 min read

Chances are, you have a dog wagging its precious tail around the house or sniffing at your feet. Have you ever marveled at how keen your dog's hearing is? I mean, it can hear you opening a bag of chips even if you're on a different floor in the house. Even with this amazing ability, most household dogs don't have the best hearing in the animal kingdom. They're not even in the top five.

Take elephants, for instance. They are big animals, and so are their ears. Their auditory organs are capable of capturing infrasound waves. Now, these are not your run-of-the-mill sound waves. They're low-frequency rumbling whispers that we humans can't hear. This means elephants can pick up on things like rainclouds on the move. Not only that, but these massive mammals have a pretty clever way of communicating too. They stomp the ground, creating vibrations barely noticeable to us. But to elephants, these vibrations are the equivalent of a long-distance phone call. The messages are received through their feet and earbones, even when they're miles apart. Talk about having a good reception!

Moving on to bats. They are the masters of night navigation, thanks to their use of echolocation. These animals emit high-frequency sounds which bounce back after hitting objects. This echo helps bats create a mental map, allowing them to sway flawlessly in the dark. Just when we thought bats couldn't get any cooler, scientists discovered their hearing capability extends to their wings. Special hairs called Merkel's hairs sense air movements, helping the bats detect upcoming objects. It's not the traditional hearing we're used to, but it's a fantastic adaptation to their environment.

Dolphins, on the other hand, are masters of watery acoustics. For starters, you might think that being underwater would put a damper on hearing. But dolphins have turned this challenge into an advantage. They've got their version of echolocation, emitting sonic pulses from their foreheads. These sounds bounce off objects and are picked up by the dolphin's jaw before being sent to the brain via highly developed auditory nerves. Their ears, though present, don't play a central role in hearing like ours do. Instead, dolphins have found innovative ways to listen, proving yet again how awesome animals are.

Don't let their domestic status fool you. Your pet cats and dogs are auditory champs. Cats' ears are designed to catch high-frequency sounds from up to 160 feet away, handy for catching mice, don't you think? Dogs, on the other hand, are pros at localizing sounds thanks to the muscles around their ears. Ever seen your pooch perk up its ears when it hears something suspicious? That's their sharp hearing at work.

Even the tiniest critters buzzing around us, like insects, can listen to the world. Some insects have something akin to our human eardrums. It's a delicate little membrane given the name "tympanum". Our eardrums jiggle with the sound waves. That shaking is then turned into a signal our brain would understand.

Now you've surely heard the nightly serenade of crickets or the rhythmic song of cicadas in the summer. These little symphony masters use exactly this kind of set-up to listen to their world. That's not all, though. Some bugs take a different approach to eavesdropping on their surroundings. They've got these sensory cells right in the middle of their antenna. This structure is called the Johnston's organ.

Take mosquitoes, for instance, or bees, or even fruit flies. They use their antennae not just to feel their way around but to listen in on the world, too. It gets even wilder. Hawk moths, some dusky nocturnal creatures, have this unique organ nestled right in their mouths. It's like a superpower that lets them hear ultrasonic sounds. With this, they can dodge the dangerous dives of bats out on the hunt.

When it comes to the ultimate hearing trophy, the animal kingdom has a unique winner. It's a moth. Not just any moth, though. It's the greater wax moth discovered by scientists based in Glasgow, Scotland. They've got some fascinating insights about these moths that make our ears want to stand up and listen. Just to give you some context, the greater wax moth does not stand out when it comes to its appearance. I mean, it's brown. As for its daily activities, it loves nibbling on honeycomb. Despite blending in seamlessly in the animal kingdom, it's got a serious set of ears.

How good is its hearing, you ask? Well, it's been found that this tiny creature can pick up on sounds at frequencies up to 300 kHz. By comparison, our human ears can only detect sounds up to around 20 kHz.

fact or fictionscienceexotic petsdogcat

About the Creator

Abdul Hannan Saif

Blogger | Writer | Explorer | wish to inspire, inform and help others to see fascinating discoveries and live a fulfilled life!

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