General Question

imrainmaker's avatar

Do animals have names for calling each other?

Asked by imrainmaker (8339points) July 31st, 2017

If not how do they differentiate if “A” is calling it’s calling “C” and not “B” etc.? Same in case of birds also.

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7 Answers

Soubresaut's avatar

I know that dolphins have names for each other. Nat Geo News article that summarizes it. Basically, each dolphin seems to have a unique whistle that acts as an identifier, a name—they’ll introduce themselves to new dolphins by whistling it, and will respond to it when called. (I believe this is true for all dolphin species, including orcas.)

Apparently at least one species of parrot, does, too. Cornell University Chronicle article.

I know that other species, I’m thinking like penguins or seals, don’t have names per se, but parents and children will call for each other, and can recognize each other’s voices in the din…. I guess it’s kind of like when kids at a playground shout “Mom!” “Dad!” (especially if the parents were to shout “Child!” back).

I’m interested to see what other people know about this. I’m sure those aren’t the other two other species with some sort of name use, I just don’t know of any others myself.

Coloma's avatar

Right, most animals do not have actual names for each other but can easily recognize and differentiate calls from familiar others. Our horses here absolutely recognize and call to each other as do the geese and my cats know each others voices as well.

elbanditoroso's avatar

There was one bird that never paid its own way when the birds met for dinner. They called it “Cheep Cheep”.


As @Coloma said, one species may recognize another by size, color, sounds, or smell. But the idea of a “name” is way out the capability of an animal. A name is symbolic and requires abstract thought.

Coloma's avatar

Yep, actually scent is the biggest communication marker for most animals.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Yes but they don’t actually have names for them @Coloma

Coloma's avatar

@Dutchess_III Right, I said that in my above my last post. haha

imrainmaker's avatar

One thought..if there are con artists between them they can do identity theft by mimicking voice of others..)

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