Can You Identify These Animals by Their Call?


By: Bambi Turner

6 Min Quiz

Image: Javier Fernández Sánchez/ Moment/gettyimages

About This Quiz

In June 2018, newspaper headlines mourned the death of a female gorilla named Koko. While any animal passing is sad, most don't end up in the news, but Koko was different. This 46-year old creature had become famous over the years for exhibiting some powerful communication skills. Not only could she express herself using more than 1,000 different signs, but she also understood an estimated 2,000 English words. Her ability to "speak" to humans gave people a whole new perspective on animal intelligence.

Of course, Koko isn't the only member of the animal kingdom known for her communication skills. An African grey parrot named Alex passed away at the age of 31 in 2007. By the time of his death, he had a vocabulary of around 100 words, and was able to communicate abstract concepts like quantity and color. 

Sure, not every animal is in the same league as Koko or Alex, but you may be surprised just how many creatures have adapted to "talk" in their own way - to humans, other creatures and members of their own species. Think you can match the animal to its call? Take our quiz to find out!

Which of these sounds is a dolphin most likely to make?

Dolphins rank among the most intelligent animals, so it's no surprise that their communication skills are top-notch. The more than 40 species of dolphins live in groups of less than ten to several hundred, and many use clicks to communicate. Like bats, dolphins use echolocation to track down prey while hunting.


Which of these calls might a pig use in greeting?

Pigs are vocal creatures, communicating with oinks, grunts, snorts and squeals. And if you think these gentle creatures are dirty, think again! Pigs are naturally very clean animals. If you see one covered in dirt or mud, it was probably trying to stay cool, because pigs can't sweat to cool down like humans can.


Which of these sounds is associated with the turkey?

Yes, turkeys do gobble on, but their real skill is speed! Turkeys can run up to 25 mph, or fly in excess of 55 mph. Want some more bizarre turkey trivia? You can distinguish the poo of a male bird from a female one just by looking at it; while males leave behind spiral scat, females produce hook or j-shaped waste.


Do you know what sound a bird might make?

Ever wonder why social media giant Twitter uses a bird in its logo? It's because birds love to tweet! They also chirp, warble and sing. Descended from dinosaurs, there are more than 10,000 different species of birds living today, from the mighty ostrich to the tiny hummingbird.


What might a snake say as its slithering along?

Snakes aren't exactly social creatures, so while they do hiss, they aren't doing it as a way to talk to their snake buddies. There are more than 3,000 species of snakes, from the tiny thread snake to the mighty python - which can grow more than 30 feet long!


Do you know what sound a sea lion makes?

Sea lions are noisy marine mammals, known for their loud barks - similar to the ones a dog makes. Their close relative, the seal, may look similar, but prefers to communicate using soft grunts rather than the attention-grabbing barks of the sea lion.


What sound does a raccoon make?

Raccoons can produce anywhere from 50 to 200 or more different sounds, depending on who you ask. The purr is common, as are putters, snarls, hisses and whimpers. Baby raccoon noises tend to resemble those made by a kitten, and may include mews, cries and whining.


Quoth the raven...

Ravens and crows are both black, intimidating birds, but when they open their mouths, you can usually tell them apart. While crows make a very distinct caw sounds, the raven's caw is deeper and more of a guttural sound - sometimes written as "kraaw" or "kraa" rather than "caw."


The mosquito doesn't just bite, it annoys with what noise?

As if the threat of an itchy bite weren't enough, mosquitoes have yet another way of ruining your picnic - their buzz! When mosquitoes are flying, their rapidly beating wings create a droning buzz that is usually only audible when the insect has seriously started to invade your private space. While all this buzzing sounds the same to humans, male mosquitoes can actually recognize a female simply by her sound - which is slower and has a lower pitch than the buzzing of a fellow male.


Which of these sounds is the pigeon known for?

Pigeons produce a surprising variety of sounds. They may coo to attract mates, or to defend themselves or their territory. Baby pigeons snap their beaks or hiss, while males stamp their feet and loudly snap their wings as a show of aggression.


Which of these calls is most closely associated with the owl?

The most common owl sound is a hoot, or a hiss when things aren't going well. Some species of owls also produce noises you might not expect. The great horned owl makes a sound like a muted foghorn, while burrowing owls say coo-cooooo. Barn owls scream, and screech owls earned their name through some seriously high-pitched screeches.


How does a prairie dog communicate?

Despite their name and their dog-like bark, prairie dogs are rodents. They live in burrows underground and are about the size of a rabbit. Early American explorers Lewis and Clark actually referred to these creatures as barking squirrels in their writing.


Do you know what sound the grasshopper makes?

You only have to end up with a grasshopper trapped somewhere in your home one time to memorize its sound - a repetitive and annoying chirp. The male grasshopper makes this noise by rubbing a ridge along one wing against some wrinkles on the other wing. And yes, you can calculate the temperature based on grasshopper chirping frequency.


What sound does a mouse make?

Mice produce small squeaks that humans and other animals can hear, as well as ultrasonic sounds that are beyond the scope of human hearing. Depending on the frequency of pitch of mouse sounds, the creature could be indicating excitement, fear, pleasure or danger.


Can you guess which call a goose makes?

Geese give mighty honks when talking to other geese or warning humans and other creatures to stay out of their way. Some scientists postulate that geese who honk when flying in formation might be doing so as a way to encourage one another to keep going and not give up.


The sheep says...

Sheep communicate with a bleating sound, or baa. The noise produced by goats is similar, but is often shown as maa, rather than baa. And in case you were wondering, some sheep are awesome singers. Look no further than a 2013 viral video of a sheep belting out Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble."


Which human-like sound does a hyena make?

Spotted hyenas are known for their laugh, but the animals themselves are not laughing because they find something funny. A hyena's laugh is a sign of frustration, competition or tension - and that's no laughing matter.


Except for Mr. Ed, most horses are limited to what call?

Horses are known for their neighs, which they may use to display anything from worry to excitement. These gentle creatures also use soft nickers as a form of greeting, snorts and blows to show excitement, and sighs to communicate relaxation.


What is the primary way a mother rhino speaks to her baby?

Rhinos use a special form of "Morse Code," in which they vary the length and spacing of their breaths to share messages with one another. They may also bellow, snort, grunt or make a trumpeting sound like an elephant.


Which of these might a parrot use to communicate?

Parrots are famous for their mimicry, which means they can replicate human speech - but that doesn't mean that they are talking the way humans do. Sure, they can manipulate the muscles around their trachea to produce words, but they have no vocal cords, so standard speech is impossible. Instead, most parrots communicate with squawks, clicks, shrieks and clicks.


What sound does a giraffe make?

Giraffes have a larynx, but for a long time, scientists thought their necks were way too long to actually produce sounds. A 2015 study published in the journal Biomed Central revealed that these gentle creatures actually do "speak" - through low-frequency, rumbling hums, and only at night.


What sound does a male elk make?

There's no mistaking the bugling sound of a male elk with the call of any other creature. A 2006 study in the Journal of Mammalogy suggests this bugling is used to maintain motivation-structural rules - the silent rules that govern elk society.


A duck is known for what call?

When it comes to ducks, female mallards are the noisy ones, emitting sounds in a series of two to ten quacks, while males tend to have raspier, shorter quacking sessions. Other species of ducks don't quack, but instead communicate with squeaks, whistles and croaks.


The cow says...

Cows and cattle are known for their braying moo, but may also make snorting, grunting or bellowing sounds. Female cows tend to be louder and more aggressive with their sounds when separated from the calves, while the baby cows themselves produce high-pitched bleats.


What noise does a chicken make?

Chickens make a distinctive clucking sound, which is generally used as a means of everyday communication. A crowing rooster is saying "Hey, look at me!" while a kuh-kuh-kuh sound demonstrates excitement. Baby chicks are limited to simple peeps and trills until they are a bit older.


Which of these sounds is the elephant known for?

An elephant's trumpet can be loud enough to be heard several miles away, and may indicate anything from danger to anger to excitement. Elephants also have interesting non-verbal communication - they hug with trunks or rub their bodies together to show affection.


Which of these sounds is man's best friend known for?

Dogs have tons of ways of showing their feelings. They rely heavily on scents, as well as body cues like how they hold their ears or tail to show what they are thinking. In terms of "words," dogs may bark, howl, growl, yip or yap, depending on the breed.


Do you know what sound a monkey makes?

Many monkey species are known for their screams and screeches, which can indicate anything from anger to excitement. Scientists who've studied monkeys suggest that these close human relatives should be able to talk - their vocal tract appears to be similar enough to a human's to produce words. What keeps them from having full spoken conversations is their brains - which don't have the neural control to produce sounds in the way that human brains do.


Which of these most closely resembles the donkey's call?

The donkey's sound is known as a bray, and is written hee-haw. These creatures may also communicate using grunts, growls or snorts, but they don't neigh like their horse kin.


What sound does a domestic cat make?

Cats make three basic types of sounds. Some, like purrs and trills, are produced with the mouth closed. Others required the cat to open his mouth and eventually close it, and may include meows of varying pitch and intensity. Finally, the cat can make noises that require its mouth to stay wide - like a hiss, growl, shriek or snarl.


Forget house cats - what sound does a lion make?

The king of the jungle communicates using a mighty roar - but it can't purr. The very cartilage in its larynx that allows for roaring rules out the ability to purr like a kitten. The only big cat capable of purring is the cheetah. which is also known for chirping rather than roaring.


Which of these sounds is the bee known for?

Believe it or not, bees can buzz even when their wings are still. Some buzzing sounds come from the flutter of the critter's wings, of course, but other buzzes come from the bee simply vibrating his wings or part of his body to show aggression, or during pollination.


What sound does a walrus produce?

The walrus communicates in grunts, whistles or clicks. Despite what you may have heard about goo goo gajoobing, this sound has nothing to do with the walrus.


What sound do bears make?

If you're within earshot of a bear, you're probably too close, so take our word for it: a bear communicates with roars or growls, and may huff or pop its jaw when threatened or nervous. Cubs communicate with small groans and squeals, while mother bears may use simple grunts to keep their young safe.


Which of these sounds is associated with the frog?

Female frogs make small peeps if they speak at all - but male frogs have plenty to say. Using a large air sac below their mouths, they can ribbit, croak, grunt or whistle, depending on their moods.


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