What Sound Does A Dolphin Make? Understand Echolocation

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What Sound Does A Dolphin Make? Understand Echolocation

Dolphins produce different sounds to convey their messages to their fellow mates. The sound they produce results in the formation of ultrasonic vibrations. However, the sound of a Dolphin’s sound has varied frequencies because of their habitat and type. Let’s talk about what sound does a Dolphin make.

The method through which a dolphin makes noise is known as Echolocation (ek-oh-low-KAY-shun). Echolocation helps a dolphin know there is an object near it. It won’t be wrong to call it one of God’s wonders because echolocation helps a dolphin know about an object’s:

  • Size
  • Shape
  • Distance and
  • Location.

Through emitting sound waves, aquatic animals including whales, proprises, dolphins, etc. interpret and make a picture in their heads about their surroundings. Echolocation assists dolphins in discovering about the creatures, plants, and other things around them underwater.

What Sound Does A Dolphin Make?

A Dolphin produces many sounds out of which 3 different kinds of sounds are widely known:

1) Squeaks:

A dolphin makes ‘squeaks’ that sound similar to a kid’s giggles- (you’ll hear ‘eeeee’). They usually produce this sound when they are happy. To make a dolphin happy, you can give it its favorite food as a treat/reward or play with it. Dolphin squeaks are characterized as a ‘rapid series of pulses.’

Squeaks are often associated with victories because dolphins make these noises when they catch prey. Biologists regard it as a sharing of an emotional feeling, often happiness. The video below shows what sound does a dolphin make when it squeaks:

2) Whistles:

Scientists believe that Dolphin Whistles are linked with their individuality and identification.

These mammals start to produce whistle sounds from a very young age and tend to identify their distinct fellow dolphins using them. It’s the same as we humans identify each other and different things around us with different names. Similarly, dolphins use whistles which vary in frequency, pitch, duration, and voice for every dolphin and the emotion they convey. Such whistles that are unique to every dolphin are known as ‘signature whistles.’

Fun Fact: Dolphins can remember each other without even communicating for 20 years.

Dolphin Whistles vary depending upon the demographics, NBC News confirms. As per the findings of biologists, dolphins who live in a habitat with abundant seagrass have signature whistles with higher pitch and shorter lengths. However, in water bodies with muddier seafloor, dolphins produce whistles with low pitch that travel longer distances. Furthermore, a small dolphin group produces whistles in varied pitches more often than a larger group of dolphins.

To hear what sound does a dolphin make when they use whistles, refer to the video below:

3) Clicks: 

Dolphin clicks sound like a series of constant small mechanical noises that come as a pulse. Clicks are used to communicate and produce from a part of the dolphin’s front head called melon. Dolphin clicks are also called click trains and are received by the recipient dolphins in a pod through a fat-filled cavity.

Hear what sound does a dolphin make in the ocean through clicks: 

Dolphins can make up to 1000 clicking sounds in a single second, National Geographic confirms. These clicks work as the sonar system which when hit an object in proximity, bounces back to dolphins as echos. Clicks are heavily used to grab information about the surroundings or to identify the enemy hiding behind water plants or big rocks underwater.

Other Sounds Dolphins Make

Usually, young/baby dolphins (calves) make a sound that resonates with a hesitant cry. It is called bleats or brays. Dolphins also make sounds like breach, flicker, moans, buzzes, rasps, etc. Read further to know how dolphins hear a sound and communicate.

How Do Dolphins Communicate With Echolocation?

Dolphins use a vocalization technique called echolocation in which they primarily use 3 kinds of ultrasonic sounds: clicks, whistles, and squeaks. These mammals do have ears, however, their ear canals help them hear when their head is outside water. To hear underwater, dolphins use their lower jawbones.

Dolphins hear through melon and low-impedance fat-filled cavity near their jaws. The sound vibrations when struck with their body melon and fat-filled cavity pass these signals to and auditory nerves which send them to the dolphins’ middle ear and eventually to the brain.

Fun Fact: Did you know a dolphin’s sound covers a distance 4.5X faster than it does in the air? Well, now you do!

Wrapping Up

Dolphins generally use three kinds of sounds, ‘clicks,’ ‘whistles,’ and ‘squeaks,’ each related to a particular emotion or task. Clicks help dolphins to assess their surroundings, whistles to communicate (and for calling out specific dolphins through ‘signature whistles’) and squeaks which are like bursting giggles. Dolphins make crying sounds too which are often regarded as bleats. This sensory activity is regarded as echolocation in which dolphins send and receive vibrations similar to the sonar technique.

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