How Animals Communicate Their Needs

The way animals communicate is truly amazing. Some communicate in ways humans can hear. Other forms of communication go on without us even knowing. Want to know more about how certain animals communicate? Read below.


Some of us are lucky enough to have a dog that can, essentially, speak like a human. And that’s pretty funny, but the rest of us have to rely on barking, body presence, and tail wagging. So what does it all mean?

Dogs bark for a variety of reasons. A warning bark is usually very loud and quick. A playful bark is lighter, and usually has a wagging tail to accompany it. Then there are howls. It’s harder to tell why a dog is howling – often times it’s to imitate a sound they’re hearing. Other times it can be out of happiness.

Dogs also have very interesting tendencies in terms of body presence. When they’re scared, they tend to hunch over. If they’re attempting to assert dominance, they will try to make themselves look bigger. You’ll typically see the dog on its tip-toes, or looking ready to lunge forward.

Dogs have a lot to say with their tails, too. It’s usually safe to say that a wagging tail means a dog is happy or excited, but this isn’t always the case. It can mean your dog is feeling aggressive. If your dog is alert, the tail will be higher than normal, and sometimes stiff. When your dog is feeling nervous, their tail will be lower, and sometimes it will be tucked between the legs.

In order to get the best read on how your dog is feeling, you should look at their whole body and not just one part.


cute kitten
Cats communicate in similar ways to dogs. Studying the “meow” can actually get very in depth, but there are a few common meows you can easily figure out. A short meow is similar to the standard “hello” of a human. Multiple meows means added excitement. When they meow at a low pitch, it means they want something. A hiss means anger, and a purr will usually signal that they’re content.

And what about the rest of the body? Cats and dogs are also similar in this regard, but they differ in slight ways – (for instance, a straight up tail means happiness.) Cats really have a lot to say with blinking eyes. When they blink slowly, it means they’re being affectionate. In turn, if you blink slowly at your cat, they will come over to you so they can be pet.


Let’s not forget about the animals of the water. As humans, we only experience a very small part of the big blue ocean. And most of the time we’re just looking at it, admiring it’s tranquility. But once you start diving into the deeper, darker parts, it’s a communication haven. Lets take toothed whales and baleen whales, for instance. Toothed whales communicate with high frequency sounds, and baleen whales communicate with low frequencies. Since it’s obviously very dark underwater, whales use echolocation to see how close they are to something. When they release a sound, they determine how far away they are from something by seeing how long it takes for the sound to bounce back to them.


Firefly 2
And what about the little guys? Insects are so small – how could they possibly communicate? Their vision isn’t great, so they mostly rely on sense. Lets take ants, for example. They touch parts of their antennae and mouth to make warning signals, but also to smell each other. How about fireflies? They can make codes out of light flashes! And let’s think about butterflies. They’re so colorful! They can use the color on their wings to flirt, or scare away predators. Who would’ve thought so much communication was going on between those tiny creatures?

Lisa Podwirny is the owner of Ketchum Mfg. Connect with her on !

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