Communication in animals
Animals are members of the kingdom Metazoa/Animalica. They are multi-cellular organisms. Animals have developed muscles, making them capable of spontaneous movement, more elaborate sensory and nervous system and greater levels of complexity. Animals account for three quarters of living species.
Animals are very popular among mankind. Animals are kept by humans for companionship or pleasure rather than for utility. Dogs are known to have been kept as pets since pre-historic times; cats since 3000 B.C. and horses since atleast 2000 BC.
Communication in animals is very interesting. Smell is probably the most common basic means of animal communication with even the most primitive animals reacting to odours given off by their own or other species.
Some animals communicate by means of sound. Visual communication usually indicates an animal’s identity like species, age, sex, etc.
Chemical communication involves pheromones (chemical signals) produced by the animal’s endocrine system. Bees, wasps, ants, moths and other insects rely largely on upon pheromones as a means of communication.
Grasshoppers and crickets create sound by 'fiddling' - a process which consists of rubbing the hind legs over the ribs of the forewings. Male gorillas will beat their chest with cupped hands to produce a sound which carries some distance.
Elephants communicate by a series of rumbling noises made in their throats and trunks, although a cow elephant calling her calf will simply slap her ears against the side of her head. Trumpeting is restricted to moments of extreme excitement or danger.
Kangaroos, hares and rabbits will thump their hind legs on the ground as a warning signal. The rattlesnake gives a distinctly audible and sinister sounding warning by vibrating its bell-shaped tail segments while other snakes, lizards and crocodiles hiss loudly to warn off intruders.
Dogs and wolves make use of body language, as do cats, monkeys and many other animals. The attitude of the tail when two wolves meet will indicate which of the two is superior. The tail held between the legs is a submissive gesture while the tail raised confidently aloft donates dominance. Horses will hold their ears or tail in certain positions to signal pleasure or alarm. Dogs wag their tails as a sign of pleasure while the waving tail of a cat signals irritation or anger.
Apes and monkeys make considerable use of facial grimaces in order to express their feelings. The frown of a rhesus monkey is a clear sign of unease, whereas the raised eyebrow and fluttering eyelid denotes friendship or pleasure. Raised hackles in the Dog family help to make the individual appear bigger when facing a possible adversary.