Amazing Facts About Hearing Power in the Animal Kingdom

The human ear is an engineering marvel, but we don't have the market cornered on sophisticated auditory capabilities. Researchers have discovered that many animals can hear sounds and sense danger that humans miss entirely.

Here are some of the most impressive feats of hearing found in the animal kingdom:


No mammal can match the bat when it comes to detecting and capturing prey. Bats emit ultrasonic sounds and measure the amount of time it takes them to bounce back off of nearby objects, which is called echolocation. With this feature, especially in a closed area like a cave, the object of a bat’s attention rarely gets away.

Tiger Moths

The tiger moth wouldn’t stand a chance against a bat, were it not for its special adapted skill that can scramble the sonar of its predator. Tiger moths emit a series of sounds of their own, sometimes as many as 450 clicks in one-tenth of a second. These make it difficult for bats to interpret their own signals and easier for the moths to be elusive. The tiger moth has the most creative and effective defense against superior hearing.


Many of us are dependent on our GPS devices these days, but pigeons find their way with their own inborn radar. Pigeons can hear exceptionally low sounds, or infrasounds, that human beings can’t hear at all. These sounds supply them with an entire range of navigational tools, such as sounds deflected horizontally from hills and mountains that allow them to get around effectively. Pigeons are also believed to have a type of internal compass that works with the earth’s electromagnetic core.


Like pigeons, elephants can hear sounds in very low frequency – 20 times lower than our human ear can detect. Researchers discovered a way to record their sound and found that they make low-frequency sounds all the time. Though once considered a quiet breed, elephants can hear others from a distance of 6 km. Elephants are also the first to react if a thunderstorm is coming; their special ears pick up the distant rumble of thunder.


An owl’s keen sense of hearing is related to several unique features: Owls’ ear holes are higher than ours, opening doors to a wider variety of sounds, and also the owl possesses an uncanny reaction time. One study found that an owl could determine the direction and distance of a smaller bird in .01 of a second.

Greater Wax Moth

Last but not least, the greater wax moth gets credit for having the best hearing ability in the animal kingdom. It's capable of hearing sounds with frequencies of up to 300kHz. At our best, humans can only hear and interpret sounds up to 20 kHz.

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