Most mammals at Bali Safari Park make sounds that you recognize. Our lions roar, our elephants trumpet, and even the gazelles ‘honk’. But what sound do you think a giraffe makes? If you can’t answer that, don’t worry — giraffes are often the quiet ones in the family.
Giraffes can communicate without making any sound!
We like to think that lions, elephants, dolphins, cats and dogs are animals that can talk to each other. They can produce specific sounds that mean different things. Just like humans do! But even though giraffes make very little sound, they can still talk to each other in a unique way.
Giraffes are very social animals that live in herds of 10 to 12 members. Thus, it’s important that giraffes are able to communicate. In the wild, a giraffe can direct other members’ attention to a potential danger; they stop whatever it is they’re doing, and, in unison, focus on their environment!
This form of communication (without sound) is called non-verbal communication. They do it by paying attention to other members’ body posture and eyes, and sometimes by touching each other.
The little sounds they make
During mating season, the males make coughing sounds to attract females. When young giraffes stray too far from their mothers, the mothers make hissing or whistling sounds to warn them about the lurking dangers. Just like our mothers (almost)!
New studies confirm that giraffes don’t just make short bursts of sound like the coughing, hissing and whistling mentioned above. They can also produce long sustained vocalizations, almost like a humming sound. Here’s the strange part — they only make them at night!
Biologists detected this humming sound after recording over 900 hours of audio in three zoos in Europe. It’s not like a snoring sound that other animals make; this is an organized sound, with a pattern. Biologists think this humming sound is useful for giraffes to signal other members in the dark. It’s one giraffe saying to another,
“I can’t see you, but I’m here with you.”
Isn’t that sweet? Giraffes are mammals of few words, but they care about each other a lot. Go and meet these magnificent gentle creatures at Bali Safari and Marine Park!