How Many Languages Do Animals Speak?

Animal Languages

Animal Languages: Is communication exclusive only to humans? Can animals born and raised in different geographic locations actually understand each other? If so, how many languages do members of the Kingdom Animalia speak?

We, humans, communicate with words to express our feelings or needs. We use our tongue and mouth to articulate words. Using a large number of words, we can tell remarkably complex stories and situations.

How about animals? Do they have languages like humans to express their emotions? Find out all the answers to these questions below.

Animal Languages

Dog BarkingWe are already familiar with the fact that one way of communication in animals is through the use of sound. Dogs barking, cats meowing, and birds chirping are just some of these common languages.

The truth is, animals speak a wide variety of languages that are in fact innumerable. This, of course, is dependent on the type of species and the type of environment a particular group lives in.

Besides, even if animals lack the ability to speak using words just like humans, they can communicate using various ways like non-verbal actions. The following are some of these ways.

1. Smell

Animals can also relay messages by producing chemicals. One good example is the way the Queen ant orders its workers on what to do by producing chemicals and rubs it to the workers using pheromones. The workers then relay the message to others. It ranges from simple community activities to territorial conquest.

Forest Queen Ant

2. Sight

Animals can also use their physical appearance as signals for other animals. Some animals tend to acquire horrible appearances in order to startle their predators to avoid eating them.

Mexican Plateau horned lizard Squirting Blood
Mexican Plateau horned lizard squirting blood as the defense mechanism against predators (Picture: Wikimedia)

Some animals do the otherwise. Animals like peacocks tend to display their attractive feathers in order to attract their potential mate.

3. Touch / Body Language

Aside from physical appearance, body language is also a way for animals to display how they feel and what they want. bees, for example, tend to perform “dances” by moving their bodies. This is very useful in telling the direction of flight to other bees in the colonies. It can also be done to find a mate.

Bee Dance

In the bees world, according to bee experts, there are two hypotheses on how bees communicate. The first theory is called “waggle dance” or “dance language” theory. The second theory is called “Odor Plume” theory. In a nutshell, using smell/odor, the foragers find the florals with the best quality nectar/pollen and then perform dance movements to lure the worker bees to follow. However, there are some controversies and academic debates around these theories.

  • Interestingly, animals like whales, dolphins, bats, and hummingbirds have shown their capabilities to learn new languages. These animals usually utilize different clicking patterns in order to convey messages.

Languages Animals Speak

languages animals speakStudies show that communication among living organisms has a genetic basis. In other words, most animal species are already born with the ability to decipher and speak the language of their species.

  • As mentioned above, the geographic location to where they were born does not matter. As long as they are “talking” with member of their species, speech is already an innate trait. This can also be observed in animals like dogs also have learned to understand some human words and simple sentences.
  • However, it is still important to note the difference between learning new animal language and acquiring the ability to understand them.
  • In the Kingdom, animals are more likely to do the second rather than the former.

Importance of Animal Language

Basically, animals use language typically just the same way humans do. They “speak” in order to let other animals they exist, to warn other animals about any threat or danger, to find their mates, and to mark their own territories.

See? Humans are not the only ones capable of speaking various languages. Animals surely can too!

Cite This Page

APA7MLA8Chicago (2023, June 01). How Many Languages Do Animals Speak?. Bio Explorer. "How Many Languages Do Animals Speak?" Bio Explorer, 01 June 2023, "How Many Languages Do Animals Speak?" Bio Explorer, June 01 2023.


  • “Do Animals Speak A Language Humans Don't Understand? » Science ABC”. Accessed October 17, 2018. Link.
  • “Do animals from geographically distant areas speak the same language? – The Washington Post”. Accessed October 17, 2018. Link.
  • “The Honey Bee Dance Language Controversy | Beesource Beekeeping”. Accessed October 17, 2018. Link.

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