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5 Animal Languages I Wish I Could Learn

We humans have convinced ourselves that since we can talk, we’re special. We’re not. Using sound, movement, smell, seismic sensations, and even electricity, animals talk to each other all the time in ways we don’t notice because we aren’t on their level. I would love to be able to talk to all animals Dr. Doolittle-style, but there are a few animal languages I extra wish I could learn. Here are five of the absolute coolest animal languages I wish my feeble human brain could comprehend.

1) Whale noises

There are a lot of videos on YouTube that are like “11 hours of whale noises” because apparently humans find eavesdropping on other people’s conversations relaxing? Whales largely rely on sound to communicate and navigate their world, and they do so through clicks and “songs”. Their communication is often considered the most complex in the world and humans don’t even come close to understanding it. I wish I could learn whale noises and then just start chatting with them about the meaning of life and sh*t. That’s the dream — seeing a whale from a submarine and communicating in their language? (Everyone dreams about that, right?)

2) Bee language

Bees communicate by wagging their butts at each other, and telling each other what angle from the sun they can find food. Bees are doing geometry with their dang butts. And we think we’re the smart ones.

3) Electrocommunication

Some aquatic animals, like Weakly Electric Fish, and a couple land animals, like platypi, can communicate using electroreception. They generate an electric field to communicate, and differences in waveforms and frequencies convey different information.

4) Gorilla language

I just think gorillas are neat and I’d like to be able to talk to them. Gorillas communicate with a variety of vocalizations — their barks and grunts communicate their whereabouts, alert others to danger, signal their mood, and even flirt. Silverback gorilla males can also emit a specific scent if they’re in a dangerous situation and silently alert their whole group. Can you imagine that? If you could just toot and warn your friends of danger? That would be amazing. I also really wish I could talk to Koko the Gorilla in sign language. That’s a bucket list item for me. If you know Koko and can make that happen, please hit me up.

5) Ant language

Ants are master communicators — they coordinate their efforts better than any other species alive, in my non-expert opinion. Ants primarily communicate using pheromone trails to lead other ants, but they also use pheromones to communicate which nest they’re from and their social status. Many kinds of ants also communicate using sound from the time they are pupae. That’s kind of like an unborn baby yelling at people from the womb. Ants live in immensely sophisticated societies and I wish I could drop some pheromones and talk to them.

What animal languages do you wish you could learn? I know this is a really normal thing to think about. Tweet at me @erikaheidewald and let me know!

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Erika Heidewald
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