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The Loudest Animals

Which are the loudest animals in the world? tells you all about them!

A jet plane reaches about 130 dB (decibels). It can’t get any louder than this? Of course it can! Animals can get muuuch louder! Here is a list of the loudest animals in the world!

A lawnmower rattling past you reaches 70 dB. An angry car driver with its motor horn 90 dB. This is quite impressive. But if you are standing right next to a jet plane on the runway, your ears have to put up with 130 dB. Just the idea of this could make your ears ring. The blue whale and the pistol shrimp can be even louder.

Howler Monkey Howler Monkey - Photo: jaana piira/Shutterstock


The Loudest Animals in the World

Pistol shrimp 250 dB
Sperm whale 230 dB
Blue whale 188 dB
Fish (D. cerebrum) 140 dB
Lion 114 dB
African cicada 106.7 dB
Wolf 90-115 dB
Howler monkey 90-100 dB
Greater bulldog bat 137 dB
Kakapo 132 dB
Moluccan cockatoo 129 dB
Northern elephant seal 125 dB
Elephant 117 dB
Bush cricket A. arachnoides 110 dB
German shepherd "Daz" ** 108 dB
Oilbird 100 dB
Water boatman M. scholtzi *** 99-105 dB
Mole cricket G. vinae 92 dB
Frog E. coqui 90-100 dB
Cat "Merlin" **** 67.8 dB

* Guinness Book of Records 2009. 76 dogs were involved in the record.
** Guinness Book of Records 2009
*** Loudest animal in relation to a body size of just 0.07 inches (2 mm)!
**** Guinness Book of Records 2015. With PURRING!

Cicada Cicada - Photo: Carrie Crum/Shutterstock

Why Do Animals Make Noise?

In most cases it is very good for animals to lie low in order not to be discovered by animals of prey. But sometimes it is also incredibly helpful to be loud. For instance, wolves are howling to defend their territory, and whales try to find each other at distances of several 100 kilometers. The chirping of cicadas however is a mating call.

What Are Decibels?

Decibel is a measuring unit for sound volume. The unit is actually called Bel and was named after the inventor Alexander Graham Bell (who is also regarded as the inventor of the telephone). Yet, most of the time we use the term decibel (deci = a tenth).

What Humans Can Hear ...

A normal conversation between two people takes place at about 60 dB. Our ears begin to ache at a noise level of 120 dB. At 160 dB, the ear drum might even get damaged.


... and What They Don’t Hear

Humans can only perceive sounds within the range of 20 Hz and 20 kHz (= Kilohertz = 20,000 Hz). Hertz is the unit indicating the sound frequency. Giraffes use sounds below the level of 20 Hz when they “talk”. The call of a bat has a sound frequency of 14 - 100 kHz! By the way: It also works the other way round: Some animals cannot hear sounds that we can clearly perceive.

Funny records achieved by humans:

  • Loudest shouting of a group: 127.2 dB (Finland, 2005)
  • Loudest whistling: 125 dB (Marco Ferrera, California, 2004)
  • Loudest clicking of a tongue: 114.2 dB (Richmond Hill, Canada, 2003)
  • Loudest Alpine horn: 111.1 dB (Rainer Bothe, Germany, 2012)
  • Loudest applause: 111 dB (Portugal, 2009)
  • Loudest knuckle-cracking: 83.2 dB (Miguel Ángel Molano, Spain, 2012)


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