When any normal person thinks about the noises of nature, they think of those CD’s containing tracks such as ‘Waterfall Grace’, ‘Jungle Mystery’ and ‘Jackhammer Nipple Pain’ (maybe not the last one). In reality however it is much more, and I hate to use the word, extreme.
We start off in the water, with a tiny shrimp of the family Alpheidae. It rivals the Sperm and Beluga whale for being the loudest animal in the sea, and its only 3-5cm long. Want to know how? Yeah you do.
It has asymmetrical claws, the larger of which emits a large snapping sound when provoked. The loudness of this snap has caused them to be commonly known as pistol shrimps. They use this noise to stun prey, and it even has the ability to break glass jars with the waves it creates. This shrimp can potentially kill with its sound, raising the temperature of the water around its claw above boiling point. It is better than you.
The tour, like most things I’m involved in, you may think I have climaxed early with. You could not be more wrong. We now go to the loudest of all land animals, the Howler monkey. Among the largest of the New World Monkeys, it uses vocal communication as an integral part of its social behaviour. They have a colossal hyoid bone (roughly 4 times the size of ours in all our evolutionary greatness) and they use this to ‘roar’ or howl ridiculously loudly. I’ll bet you’re simply dying to hear the sound so I’ve been gracious enough to give you a video, but as payment you must endure the announcer who is quite simply a large prat.
People have claimed to hear their calls clearly over 5km away. That’s better than a napalm bomb. They are better than you.
As a final stop on this tour, I’ll take you to South America to where the small Oilbirds roam. Why are they interesting? Well they are one of two bird species (the others being swiftlets) that use echolocation. Yes the thing that bats do (I can read minds through articles, I’m damn good). They feed nocturnally on palm oil, thus the name, and due to poor light conditions they must not only use echolocation to not only navigate through the caves they live in, but they must fly through thick tropical forest. Now I’ll bet the noise in your head is a neat little chirp. If only. I’d compare it more to a shrill scream, which can be heard in the background of the horrible video I’ve provided.
They scream at trees while flying at up to 60km/h in order to manoeuvre and speed through them with ease. They are better than you.
This is where my tour ends, although it has only given you a taste of the ridiculous world of noise in nature. If there’s any you think I’ve missed, let me know in the comments as I pretty much get off on knowledge. Now plant yourself back into your seat, as you were obviously on the edge of it, and sit there in appreciation for these freaks of nature.