Animals need to communicate with each other to establish and defend territories, work together, attract a mate, and more. There are four ways that animals can communicate with each other. They are:1

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Tactile
  • Chemical

The methods used will vary depending on the species. But overall, communication is important because it can help animals interpret what’s going on around them. They can communicate that danger is nearby or keep themselves organized in a social hierarchy.1

Visual Communication 
This is any kind of communication that can be physically seen – such as body language or a color signal. Wolves often use body language to communicate with each other. So do chimpanzees – they’ll slap the ground or make direct eye contact with one another to communicate.1&2

Auditory Communication 
This is communication using sound. Although animals don’t speak as we do, they have different sounds they can make to communicate something. Birds are very vocal creatures and often use these vocalizations to attract mates and defend territory. Other animals that use this tactic are bullfrogs, gibbons, and dolphins.2

Tactile Communication
This involves physically touching another to communicate something. Honeybees will perform a specific kind of dance to communicate they’ve found food – other honeybees will get the message through touch. This kind of communication is also used to form bonds between animals that live in social groups. For example, primates groom each other.2 Another example is when male animals fight each other during mating season.1

Chemical Communication 
Pheromones are used to communicate with others. This is a chemical that is released and it often causes a response in another member of the same species. They can communicate things like attraction, warning of danger, or marking a food trail. Social insects often use this method of communication.2

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