Giraffes are infamously calm animals. A giraffe makes what kind of noise? You’ll discover what they say and the noises they produce in this post. (Spoiler alert: giraffes can also snort, grunt, hiss, yell, cough, and moo.) Additionally, infrasound and giraffe humming will be discussed.
Do Giraffes Have the Physical Ability to Produce Sound?
Giraffes actually possess vocal chords in their larynx, which means that they can physically produce sound.
It is difficult for them to generate enough airflow to vibrate the voice chords due to their tiny lung capacity, long neck (6.6-7.9 feet/2-2.4 meters), and thin trachea (windpipe).
They may thus generate a variety of noises, although they typically opt not to.
Giraffes are excellent at communicating visually, which is another reason why they don’t use voice.
They can see a great distance because of their height and exceptional eyesight. They may stomp their feet, shake their heads, or wave their mane, among other things.
Adult Giraffes Whoosh
Although they undoubtedly have the vocal chords to do so, adult giraffes hardly ever emit sounds that can be heard by humans. The giraffe’s trachea is 13 feet (4 meters) long, making it more challenging for this species to produce sound than it is for animals with shorter tracheas.
However, it is untrue that mature giraffes are mute. Adult giraffes employ infrasound, which is a sound that is too low for human ears to hear, according to recent bioacoustics study. Elephants also communicate inaudibly to humans, according to research.
Adult giraffes breathe through their larynx and up their lengthy tracheas (voice box). If the sound could be heard by humans, it would presumably sound like a whooshing “PSSHHH!” These infrasonic noises are produced by giraffes moving their long necks and listening to each other when captured using specialist equipment.
What Sounds do Giraffes Make?
Adult giraffes have been seen making noises other than their typical quiet snorts, coughs, hisses, bursts, moans, groans, grunts, whistles, and bellowing. Young calves meow, bleat, snort, and snort.
Since these noises are so uncommon, the majority of the knowledge about how they sound and what they imply is based on observation and supposition (best guess). Undoubtedly, there is space for greater study.
The need for more research is described as follows by one research team: Early publications on giraffe vocalizations “used distinct labels for giraffe vocalizations based on the sounds’ phonetic and authors’ subjective sound perception, respectively, rather than comparative and quantitative approaches to objectively identify the types of vocalizations.”
To put it another way, what one person could characterize as a moan, another person might describe as a groan or a grunt.
The BMC, the same study team, also found that giraffes hum at night. Read more about the study below.
A Quest for Giraffe Sounds
My family is thought to be height challenged or, more commonly, just short arses when we’re not around. My obvious choice at a dress-up party with an animal theme was a giraffe.
I viewed a number of giraffe-related wildlife documentaries before disguising myself as a huge four-legged creature. Unfortunately, David Attenborough’s narration always took the place of the giraffe, which was always muted.
I invented a unique giraffe sound at the party for each individual I spoke to. I occasionally had the voice of a constipated whale, a psychotic kitten, a perplexed cow, or a horse on steroids. Amazingly, everyone thought that this was giraffe noise.
I put my theory to the test after the party. I polled all of my pals to find out what noise a giraffe makes. Every answer was unique, ranging from slurping infant sounds to baritone camel groans. I was even informed that giraffes make the sound of a wallowing pig combined with a hiccuping horse.
Everyone is familiar with the roar of a lion or the trumpeting of an elephant. A giraffe though? This presented a problem.
Their Sounds are Too Low for Humans to Hear
Another widely accepted theory is that although humans cannot hear them, giraffes do in fact create sounds. Many animals, notably huge cats, frequently make low-frequency sounds.
Elephants produce low-pitched infrasound that is much beyond the range of human hearing, in addition to their trumpets and symphony horns. These can span the savannah for up to 10 kilometers.
Both giraffes and elephants are large animals. Additionally, two plus two is equal to the widely held belief that giraffes use infrasound to communicate. One theory is that giraffes, like elephants, have enormous vocal folds in their voice box. The inaudible infrasound is produced by slowly forcing air through the objects in question.
Giraffes Hum to Each Other at Night
Over 947 hours of giraffe sound recordings were gathered by researchers at the University of Vienna, showing that the animals could hum continuously in tune with a range of sound wave frequencies. The humming’s average frequency, 92 kHz, is within the range of human audibility.
Despite the fact that traditional hearing tests only measure hearing up to 125 kHz on an audiogram, humans are capable of hearing sounds as low as 20 kHz. A human’s ability to perceive additional frequencies increases with age.
The humming activity usually takes place at night. Since giraffes have good vision and can interact with visual cues, experts think they do not hum during the day. However, since they can’t see well at night, they switch to low-frequency humming as a form of communication.
Why Do Giraffe Not Make a Sound?
Ten years have passed since my giraffe costume and eight years since my first trip to the Serengeti. I have been paying close attention to giraffe noises.
Be aware that giraffe do occasionally snort or grunt briefly, presumably in response to a threat. However, this sound is more akin to a human burp or hiccup, an uncontrollable sound that can occur when the body is stunned. Nobody had ever offered proof that giraffes use vocalizations to communicate.
Up until 2015, everyone accepted that giraffes truly are quiet creatures. However, there was no firm explanation for the titans’ silence.
The sound of the giraffe
What does a giraffe sound like? A lion roars, a dog barks, an elephant trumpets, but what about a dog?” This is the first line of a brand-new study by University of Vienna researchers Angela Stoeger and colleagues.
Although it may sound like a sentence from a children’s book, this statement encapsulates up our understanding of giraffe vocal communication: nobody is certain that it even exists.
Undoubtedly, giraffes speak far less than many other animal relatives. Giraffes appear to remain silent to the untrained human eye, whether they are in the wild or a zoo.
According to some theories, the giraffe’s very long neck renders vocalization practically impossible since it is challenging to maintain the necessary air flow from the lungs to the mouth over such a long distance.
Others, however, contend that giraffes do use verbal communication, despite it being extremely uncommon. Anecdotally, they have been described as “bleating,” “brrr,” “burst,” “cough,” “growling,” “grunting,” “low” “moaning,” “mooing,” “sneezing,” and/or “snoring.”
The Final Giraffe Sound Answer
All nine of the giraffe’s subspecies have the ability to vocalize. Unfortunately, the noises are simply too faint for human ears to hear! Because infrasound can travel over great distances, giraffes must move across savannas in search of food.
Researchers can capture the infrasound and display it visually, like Liz von Muggenthaler. We can now hear an adult giraffe vocalizing for the first time in human history!
6 noises you might hear from a giraffe
Grunts and Snorts. A giraffe typically snorts and moans when it is terrified or in a perilous situation. In a struggle for dominance with another male giraffe, males may also grunt.
Hisses. Giraffe mothers have been seen hissing when their offspring need to be disciplined for acting out of line. If they are engaged in a conflict, men may hiss. A hiss can serve as a warning of danger.
Whistles and bellows. Bellows and whistling are reportedly used by females to communicate with their offspring. When calling their kids to come home or searching for them, these vocalizations might be helpful.
Noisy coughs Male adults have been shown to cough when wooing females. He could be out of breath from attempting to draw her attention, or he might believe that coughing makes him more beautiful.
Moos, Mews, and Bleats. Although still very quiet, a newborn giraffe makes more noise than an adult does. It will howl, meow, and bleat.
The newborn giraffe is letting its mother know that it is terrified, hungry, or needs anything else, much like kids of other species do. Once a calf reaches the age of around a year, bleating and mooing end. Observe a young giraffe utter its first moo.
the digestive system’s noises. Digestion may be loud, especially when cud is being chewed and vomit is being regurgitated. As a result, giraffes occasionally belch or, on the other hand, flatulate.
Searching for Giraffe Sounds on the Serengeti
Zoos are never the true home of wildlife, therefore I turned my attention to the Serengeti. The huge wildebeest migration would be there, and I would also capture giraffe noises as they passed by. I even bought a little audio recorder for the trip.
Sadly, I had a limited budget, and the tour guide was of little service. We had a one-day breakdown next to a pride of lions. The guide nearly stepped on a giraffe tower the next day because he was so engrossed in his phone.
The tallest animals in the world gently and silently turned, gave me a look of complete scorn, and then lopped off into the trees. It reminded me of a time when I was a little child and had messed up. My mother would give me a hard time for small transgressions, but I was always in major trouble when she remained silent.
Vehicles must stay on the paths since the Serengeti is a very large area. The horizon was usually dotted with giraffes. Every nightfall when the sun sank, their lyrical frames became silhouettes. Maybe I was just being paranoid, but it looked like the giants were keeping a wary eye on me. I simply wasn’t able to go near enough to them to hear them.
I started asking new mentors since I couldn’t get near enough, but the responses were similes and maybes. Each and every guide invented a unique sound, ranging from clicks to chomps to question marks.
Baby Giraffes Moo
When they are young, giraffes produce a sound that may be heard. A young giraffe may “moo,” particularly if it is under pressure.
While being confined for a veterinarian examination, a juvenile giraffe may make a mooing-like sound to its mother. The noise resembles a baby calf screaming out to its mother very much!
Do Giraffes Make Infrasound?
To begin with, what is infrasound? These are noises produced at decibel levels below human hearing. The noise must have a sound frequency of less than 20 Hertz to be categorized as infrasound.
It was questioned if giraffes were producing infrasound because of how silent they are. Elephants, for example, utilize infrasound to communicate across great distances. How about the giraffe then?
There is no evidence to support the idea that giraffes create infrasound, yet we can’t completely rule it out.
Giraffes typically hum at 92 Hertz, which is substantially higher than 20 Hertz. However, because that study was conducted in a zoo, there is still a lot that isn’t understood about what occurs in the wild. The reserved giraffe could still be hiding something.
What Sound Does a Giraffe Really Make?
Then I learned. Before me, a glittering giraffe crossed the trail and caught my attention. I’m still certain that giraffe winked at me (although one week in the Serengeti wilderness did detach me from everyday reality).
I knew with just one look. A few hours later, I received my confirmation from an elderly Masai tribesman in Ngorongoro. This was his response when I asked him what sound a giraffe makes.
In the more than 70 rains that I have spent here, I have never heard a giraffe. Giraffes are quiet creatures, my buddy.
The answer was so clear that I felt foolish, except from the remarkable fact that he calculated his age based on the amount of wet seasons. The plain reality was something different from all the giraffe noises I had made and heard from others: quiet.
What animals are the closest relatives to the giraffe?
An even-toed ungulate, the giraffe is most closely related to the okapi. The giraffe, which shares ancestry with cattle and deer, was first known to ancient English speakers as the camelopard.
The word camelopard” is derived from the Greek word kamelopardalis (kamelos meaning “camel” and pardalis for “leopard”). The giraffe was thought by ancient cultures to resemble a camel with leopard patches.