Ocean Animals Sounds That Are Quite Surprising For You

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Outdoor & NatureLearn more
The loudest animal on Earth is a blue whale reaching 188 decibels fascinating facts of ocean animals sounds.

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Marine animals depend on underwater sounds for their survival and adaptations.

Marine mammals induce sounds and observe sounds by humans and other marine mammals. This helps them to protect themselves from the enemy, find food, and to communicate with other fishes.

Sounds are majorly used to convey and understand messages quickly from a far distance. The modulation or structure of sound varies depending on the pitch and rate communicates different messages. Marine mammals and fishes send sound to communicate during reproduction and defend their territory.

Some marine mammals also develop a unique sound recognized by their groups to reunite them. The marine animals express themselves in various ways as croaks, snaps, clicks, and grunts, to invite their mates and defend against predators.

If you enjoyed reading this article, check our other articles on mediterranean sea animals and red sea animals.


Whales can identify echoes and detect the object with their location under the water. This process is called echolocation. Whales and dolphins use this process to search prey and send out pulsed sounds, which reflect while hitting a target. Echolocation helps them to detect objects or prey, also allows them to determine the size, distance, and shape of it and if it's moving. Some marine animals like cleaner shrimp declare their cleaning services in sign by clapping their claws, while fiddler crabs and spiny lobsters induce sound for mating purposes and defense. Marine animals navigate, communicate, and hunt their prey underwater, relying on sounds, but other noises in the oceans are rising, affecting the hearing and signs of the ocean animals.

The sounds of the ocean are both natural and human-made. Natural sounds come from marine life and natural events like waves, rain, and earthquakes. Human-made sounds are from various sources as underwater energy exploration, underwater construction, ships, military sonar, and others.

The sonars used by armies to detect their submarines underwater are dangerous as their sound waves can interrupt the hearing of the ocean animals around the boundary of 1864 mi (3,000 km). Ships and other water transports tend to strike through their bows and propellers on whales and giant sea animals, endangering their lives. Heavy sound waves used in the oil and gas industry harm the small microorganism underwater, affecting the food chain and their massive predators and valuable species.

Air guns used in seismic survey blasts induce pulses of sound underwater by compressing air that can spread around thousands of meters with 220- 250 decibels louder than a rocket launch. Whales and other marine animals depending on sound to communicate, switch their behavior because of the noise and harm to aquatic animals. Whales and dolphins are also stranded because of naval sonar operations, as the frequency confuses their echolocation. Hence, it leads to stress in the animals with vascular damage in the lungs, brain, and more organs, and it creates a panic pushing them hard which causes nitrogen bubbles to form in their blood called decompression sickness resulting in death.

Loud noises from ships and air guns could damage the hearing in marine animals, which affects their rights to live as preying, sensing danger, communicating, to navigate and a find a mate. It also disrupts the behavior of fish and services, leading to impaired growth, cell changes, disruption in their immune system, and also making them flee from their habitats. Ocean noise pollution is endangering their population, so NOAA took some measures. NOAA fisheries have set an underwater station to watch the sounds from time to time. NOAA observes the ocean life and level the ocean noise pollution. NOAA prevents and levels sea noise pollution. NOAA preserves marine life and is influenced to reduce noise pollution in the ocean.


Sharks have a powerful hearing. Their hearing capacity ranges from 0.055 – 0.155 mi (0.09 km -0.25km) across, frequency from 10 Hz-800 Hz, and they can hear low-pitched sounds (under 375 Hz). In comparison, our audible frequency is roughly 20 Hz-20 kHz, and underwater, we can listen to only high frequencies up to 100 kHz. Sharks can hear more minor ranger sounds that are inaudible to humans.

Octopus and other cephalopods apply statocyst as their unique organ to hear and balance. It is observed and recorded that octopus can detect sounds at the frequency of 400–1000 Hz, sounds at 600 Hz at their best. Octopus has a limited hearing capacity as they cant modify their amplitude ranges.

Dolphin’s hearing ability is seven times higher than humans. They can hear a broad range of frequencies and ultrasounds (high frequency) distinctly well. A dolphin’s hearing level is from 20 Hz to 150 kHz. Dolphins use their melon (forehead) to recognize sounds, and they do not have ear openings as other parts of their body aid in hearing, including their teeth. Dolphin's jawbone can feel the vibration of sound. It's a form of fat that has abilities to conduct sound. Adding their middle ear also can produce signs. Dolphins use the process of echolocation to locate objects and to learn their size, direction, shape, and speed. They can also communicate underwater, using two kinds of sounds high pitch and clicking sound. Dolphins use clicking sounds for echolocation and high pitch whistling sounds to communicate with other dolphins. They use clicking sounds for echolocation, and high-rise whistling sounds to communicate with their mates.

Whales produce sound to detect, locate, and analyze objects. Whale emits clicks or short pulses of sound, so they can observe the echoes and see things underwater. This process is called echolocation. Whales also use echolocation to search for food by sending pulsed sounds bounced back when they hit the target. Echolocation helps them in analyzing their environment, catching the prey, and protecting them from danger.


The signs pass information from the fish, which induces sound, to another fish that receives it through their sensory center.

It is a cue that shares information to alert its mate, find food, habitats conditions, predators, dangers, and mating activity. Water and air have different physical components, which result in diverse velocities and transparency in signal travel in the process of communication. The general terrestrial communication methods and structures do not apply to aquatic mammals. Ocean creatures communicate through various ways auditory, visual, tactile, electrical, and chemical signals. These forms of communication need specially designed, signal-producing and organs that detect sounds. The structure, mechanism, and distribution of their sensory systems vary with diverse species and classes of aquatic mammals.

Dolphins can hear sounds underwater up to 14.91 mi (24 km) away.

Amazing Facts About Ocean Animal Sounds

Sound is produced when a fish shows signs to influence another mate's behavior or adapt to its living conditions.

Acoustic communication is used by both aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, which can produce and detect both ultrasound and infrasound for communication. Sound travels faster in water compared to air which makes it easy for aquatic animals. A blue whale fish can communicate with its mate a thousand feet beyond the sea. Acoustic sounds are used for social recognition, social aggregation, and mate attraction.

Visual signals show changes in observable traits such as postures, movement, patterns, size, and coloration. Aquatic species in the coastal and ocean use optical signals more than species in the river or turbid structures because of the poor light communication or increasing depth and habitat complications. Visual cues can be detected in aquatic animals by photoreceptors. Some semi-aquatic animals can shoot optical signals even in poor light through their adaptive vision, which helps them watch clearly.

Chemical communication is aquatic animals communicate through pheromones which are chemical molecules. The production and distribution of the pheromones are controlled by a unique organ or glands. Ocean animals can produce both water-insoluble and water-soluble pheromones, primarily producing soluble signals making it easy to disperse in water.

Electrocommunication is observed in aquatic animals as water is a better electrical conductor. Many animals can identify electrical signals, but only fish can receive and send electrical alerts, making their communication effective. Weakly electric fish uses a unique electric organ to pass electric organ discharge. Electric eels produce electricity through their abdomen, which has three pairs. Electric fish can also change the amount, frequency, chords, and amplitude of their EOD.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for ocean animals sounds that are quite surprising for you, then why not take a look at Caribbean sea animals or animals that live in lakes and ponds.


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