No! Your wife is not the loudest one. 😂
While most of the animals in the world rely heavily on being in stealth mode or being absolutely quiet to hide and safeguard themselves from predators, there are a few who stand at the extreme end of the spectrum. These are the animals that make exceptionally loud sounds, and they do so to defend their territory, attract females for mating, find other animals in their group, or warn their companions of lurking danger.
Such high is the sound levels that humans will not be able to stand most of them. In fact, some of these sounds are far beyond the human hearing range. As most human conversations happen at 50 decibels, the human ear drums are designed to rupture at about 200 decibels.
Do you know which is the loudest animal on earth?
Well, brace yourself because you are about to find that out. In fact, we have enlisted 11 animals known for the loudest sounds on this planet!
Here are the world’s 11 loudest animals:
#1 North American Bullfrog
Mostly heard at: central Florida
It might be surprising to find something as small as a frog in the list, but the North American Bullfrogs are famous, or rather infamous for their loud screams that can go up to 119 decibels.
Usually, the bullfrogs make a number of sounds in different situations, and their loudest is a distress call that they make with an open mouth (they make the rest of the sounds with a closed mouth).
Apart from that, bullfrogs make a low, growling sound when they are caught and are struggling to cut loose. They make a grinding kind of a sound when communicating with each other.
When another male tries to trespass a territory, the male frog will make a short and sharp call as a warning sign. Their mating sound is referred to as an advertisement call, that even females make in some cases.
#2 African Cicadas
Mostly heard at: Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Northern Province and Kwazulu-Natal.
It is believed that there are around 3600 species of African Cicadas and scientists are still discovering more of them every year. While all of them are believed to be very loud, the trophy for the loudest insect goes to the Green Grocer and the next one to Yellow Monday.
These tiny insects make sounds that can range up to 120 decibels and can be heard as far as 1.5 miles away. Hence, it doesn’t come as a surprise that they are known as one of the loudest sound producing insects in the world.
But only male cicadas make this sound to attract mates. 🪰
Cicadas are unique in the insect kingdom as they have special body parts in their abdomen called the tymbals and they use muscles from their entire body to contract and make this loud sound.
Mostly heard at: Africa
The king of the jungle can have the rest of the animals in his territory shiver in fear with his loud and strong roars, that can be heard from 5 miles.
They produce a sound of around 114 decibels, but due to their shell shaped vocal chambers, it travels a long way. They use this roar to intimidate their prey, reinstate their territory and ward off other male lions.
#4 Northern Elephant Seal
Mostly heard at: Central North Pacific Ocean
The Northern Elephant Seals are unique in the most striking way. They are believed to be the only animals in the world who make decisions based on their individual vocalization.
Every individual seal is believed to have a unique sound and each rookery (where a group of seals resides) has its own language.
It is based on this language that males challenge and fight over territory and win over the females. The males are the loudest and when they fight for the territory or win over a mate, their voice can reach up to 126 decibels. Female seals are known to produce louder sounds when they are in distress or sense danger for their young ones.
Elephant seals make loud sounds both on land and inside the water, but it is on the land when they are the loudest.
#5 Moluccan Cockatoo
Mostly heard at: Eastern Indonesia
Moluccan Cockatoos can be so loud that their sound is compared to be as high as a 747 jet. When at its highest, their scream can go up to 129 decibels, a lot for a bird of that size.
They are believed to make such high decibel sounds either when they sense danger or when they are bored (yes, you heard it right!) categorizing them as the loudest bird!
Mostly heard at: New Zealand
One of the loudest species, and surely the rarest one on this list is the Kakapos parrot.
It is the biggest in size in the parrot family and is a flightless bird that was on the verge of extinction in the 2000s. However, herculean efforts were made by the scientists to save this species that is only found in the islands near New Zealand.
Their numbers had fallen to only 84 adult birds in 2000 when a team of scientists relocated them to another, safer island and protected their existence. In 2020, their number had risen to 211 adult birds. The reason for such a low number is that these birds breed once in 4-5 years and they don’t start mating till they are 4 years old.
But it is during the mating season when the male Kakapos make this loud sound that can go up to 132 decibels. The males typically make loud mating calls – 20-30 sonic-like sounds that are followed by a metallic-sounding ching. This mating call can last up to 8 hours.
#7 Howler Monkey
Mostly heard at: Southern Brazil, Paraguay, Eastern Bolivia
The entire forest area can echo with howler monkey sounds if they start howling in groups. Their sound can go up to 140 decibels and how loud their sound gets depends on different factors.
Firstly, if the environment supports echoes, the howls of the howler monkeys are exceptionally loud.
Secondly, if a male senses that a female is attracted to him, the howling gets even louder.
Thirdly, if two males are competing with each other – either for territory or a mate – they produce louder sound.
#8 Greater Bulldog Bat
Mostly heard at: Caribbean islands, Mexico, and Northern Argentina
Bats, that usually remain hidden through the day and get active at night might be the last option coming to our mind when we think of the loudest animals in the world, but unlike other smaller bats, greater bulldog bats can screech up to 140 decibels. This helps them navigate through the caves and locate fishes and other prey.
Their collective screeches are louder than a rock concert. In fact, the greater bulldog bat is believed to have the highest frequency among all other species of bats.
#9 Blue Whales
Mostly heard at: all oceans except the Arctic
Blue Whales are the biggest living mammals on Earth, so it is no surprise that their sound is also one of the loudest in the animal kingdom. Their vocalization isn’t just one of the loudest, but also travels the farthest than any other animal sound on earth.
When in the loudest, the voice of a blue whale can go up to 180 decibels, as loud as a jet plane. The uniqueness of their vocalization doesn’t stop there.
They make the longest-lasting calls, usually done during the mating season. The humpback blue whale males sing their unique songs where each session can last anywhere between 30 minutes to 23 hours.
#10 Mantis Shrimp
Mostly heard at: Indian and Pacific Oceans
We know you would shriek in disbelief that an insect as small as a Mantis Shrimp can be featured in a list that has other contenders like the Blue Whale. But, it is true. These tiny creatures living in the tropical and temperate seas have a unique claw that they use to catch prey.
It is the speed and clapping of the claw that creates a shrill, popping sound that can go up to 200 decibels. When they shut their claws, a giant air bubble is created that also creates a sharp spark distracting the prey.
#11 Sperm Whale is the loudest animal
Mostly heard at: Arctic and Antarctic Oceans
The sperm whale is considered to be the loudest animal in the world. They are capable of producing a clicking-like sound that can go up to 233 decibels. They make these sounds by forcing air through their nostrils that run by a number of air-filled sacs.
They have a unique body feature known as the monkey lip that clamps shut as the air continues to move through the sacs.
This sound then passes through their brain (sperm whales have the largest brain in the entire animal kingdom) that amplifies it further before the sound finally leaves their body. The result is such a loud sound that it can be heard from miles away.
List of Animals with high decibels sound
- Sperm Whale 233 Decibels
- Mantis Shrimp 200 Decibels
- Blue Whales 180 Decibels
- Greater Bulldog Bats 140 Decibels
- Howler Monkey 140 Decibels
- Kakapo 132 Decibels
- Moluccan Cockatoo 129 Decibels
- Northern Elephant Seals 126 Decibels
- African Cicadas 120 Decibels
- North American bullfrog 119 Decibels
- Lion 114 Decibels
*data last updated: 27th May 2022
Frequently asked questions about the loudest animals on Earth
Which animal is the loudest on earth?
Sperm Whales are considered to be the loudest living animal in the whole of the animal kingdom. Their sound can reach up to 233 decibels, which is as loud as a jet airplane in full throttle. Sperm whales also have the largest brains in the world that amplify the sound created from their nostrils several notches up before it leaves their body.
Which is the loudest animal on earth?
The Greater Bulldog bat can be considered one of the loudest animals living on land. They can screech up to 140 decibels which helps them navigate through the caves and locate their prey.
Why do animals create such loud sounds?
The animal world is rife with many tactics and strategies that animals adapt to survive in the wild. While most animals use stealth and quietness to survive, certain other animals make loud sounds to prove their strength, size, and power. Animals like lions are known to roar to reinstate their presence and show off their brute force. Other reasons for animals making such loud sounds also include mating calls, alerting others of possible danger, etc.
Why is Tiger Pistol Shrimp Popular?
Also known as Snapping Shrimp, Tiger Pistol Shrimp is known to produce sounds ranging up to 200 decibels. This shrimp species stun its prey with the sound waves. And, if that wasn’t enough, we are sure you’d be surprised to know that the sound produced by the pistol shrimp is a result of closing their large claws at a whopping speed of 100km per hour.
Do animals have a particular language for communication?
Yes, most animals have a way of communicating with each other within their species. They use different sounds to send the message across. The Northern Elephant Seals are believed to have the most unique feature. It is believed by the scientists that each rookery has its own language that the members use to communicate. Not just that, they are also believed to make decisions based on the loud sound they make.
Which animals have unique sounds?
Amongst many other wonders that the animal kingdom is home to, certain animals make sounds that can surprise us. Like cheetahs, even after being the fastest land animals chirp like birds. Possums, on the other hand, make a sound that resembles that of starting a car, piranhas are believed to bark like dogs, and koalas make such low sounds that it was used as the base for creating the sound of T Rex in Jurassic Park.
Which animal sounds are most commonly used in movies?
Sound designers have taken fancy to some animals and their sounds have been repeatedly used onscreen to create certain sounds. For example, the sound of a bald head eagle, the chorus frogs, and baby elephant seals are used to create monster sounds. Certain other animal sounds are also used to recreate a certain atmosphere stereotypically. These include crickets, etc.