Rhinoceros are solitary animals. So they need to communicate far less than other wildlings. Though their vision is poor, their smelling and hearing are acute. But exactly what sound does a rhino make?
Rhinos communicate mainly with smelling, hearing, and making sounds. They can make quite a variety of sounds such as growling, mooing, whistling, roaring, whining, and so on. Some even communicate in infrasonic frequencies.
These sounds tell us different stories. They are the outcome of the internal emotions of the animal. For a long time, scientists are trying to understand what the giant has to say.
Types of Sounds a Rhinoceros Makes
The cries of the wildling have been recorded on various occasions both in the wild and in captivity. Surprisingly the rhinoceros can groan in quite a lot of manners. Indian rhinos can make at least 10 distinct noises.
Their different shouts tell us about their different modes, different needs, and desires. Some cries even show ravishing anger. Others can exhibit pain, sadness, or even grief.
Mooing and whining
The rhinoceros moos when it comes across something it is fond of. For instance, a friend, or it’s mother, or a toy, etc. Mothers even call the calves using such vocalization.
Honking and bleats
Honking is used in head-to-head fighting in the wild. While in a fight to startle the opponent or to exhibit masculinity the gents are seen to honk towards each other.
But bleating is seen in those who have lost the fight. It is more like a submissive cry in the language of rhinoceroses.
Males like to grunt toward each other to show dominance over the opponent. Black rhinos even grunt as a sign of greeting. Generally, such cries are heard at night if you’re on a safari.
Babies are seen to squeak towards their mother so that she lets them her milk. It is like a hunger cry in the babies. They squeak and squeal as soon as the milk runs out.
White rhino babies are seen squeaking in the wild and captivity. As their vision is very poor, their sounds are a prime medium of communication. Their acute sense of vocalization and hearing have allowed them to develop the most advanced social system of all the species.
Snorting and Sneezing
Many species make snorting noises when angry. Again they sneeze to make alarming calls.
The rhino screams when it is scared or when they feel threatened or frightened. Such as when they are attacked by poachers. The mother screams when another male or a carnivore is too close to the baby.
Panting is a complex contact call. It is the most repetitive cry among rhinoceroses. Some scientists claim it to be an alarming call between a mother and her calf. Others say it is far more complex than that.
The rhinos are seen panting in different ways. Each way exhibits a different message towards others. Unique noises are heard in unique relationships. As a result, the same panting between two rhinoceros can mean something else among others.
Infrasounds are recorded in four species of the rhinoceros. They are Sumatran, Indian, Black, and White. Low frequencies growls and groans of captive giants were recorded from 100 m away.
Some of the calls such as grunts, pants, grouch, snarls are found to reach infrasonic ranges. Among these, the grouches have the maximum proportion of infrasonic frequencies. White species grouch when it finds another rhino nearby.
Males use long-distance communication to contact their female contemporaries. They use a “hic call” for the purpose.
Females also use long-distance “panting noises’ ‘ for finding their babies. Generally, detached rhinos try to find their way using long-distance calls. But many white species calls were recorded in lower frequencies from 1 km or more away. But no rhinoceros seemed interested in such screams.
Rhinoceros Sense of Hearing
Rhinos have poor eyesight. Yet they have an acute sense for hearing. The cup-shaped ears can rotate 360 degrees allowing the animal to capture noise from all directions with equal density.
They can hear infrasonic cries that are not in the human audible range of frequencies. Which means they can hear screams and noises that we humans can not hear. But we can measure those using advanced technology. Incidentally, the way the world sounds to a rhinoceros is a lot different than it does to humans.
Besides the textbook noises, the rhinoceros makes a lot of other cries as well. Like the “mmwonk” noise when they are happy. They also make “tonal cries” to communicate. “Puffing screams” are one of the most frequently used. Puffing is heard during foraging, resting, cohesive interactions, and other social and non-social activities.
Sound of a Charging Rhinoceros
While you’re on a safari in a rhino-infested area in the jungle, you need to keep your eyes in all directions. The animal can blow your day away with it’s pointy horn immediately if provoked.
But the good news for you is that the beast can’t see pretty well. It can’t detect a motionless man at a distance of 30m. But that is also the bad news. Because it can smell and hear a lot more than any other mammal.
So anything provoking or interesting is all the same to it. It will hunt you down if it feels like it. So you need to know what an attack sounds like so you can at least try and dodge it.
The rhino can run at a crazy speed of 50 kmph.
It constantly humps and groans while running letting out the angry burning air from its body. The hooves destroying the grasslands underneath are heard also. The agility in the sound of it feels remarkably wild. So never visit such areas without the authority of the proper person.
Rhinoceros are remarkably complex creatures. They have a wide variety of frequencies for communication. But what sound does a rhino make?
The animal can make at least 10 distinct calls. Each of them can mean different things on different occasions. Moreover, they can communicate from kilometers away using lower frequencies.
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