ALERT: Peak crowds are expected this weekend for Dollar Days. Tickets are not available online for 12/7 or 12/8.VIEW EVENT DETAILSabout Dollar Days

You Asked, We Answered: Do Sharks Make Noise?

Dolphins make clicking noises and whales emit deep, low hums to echolocate and communicate, but what about sharks?

Published November 08, 2017

Notoriously silent hunters, sharks are known for stealthily traveling throughout the ocean. Sharks do not have sound-producing organs, so they do not possess the capacity to make noise through vocalization.

leopard-shark-kelp-forest 

There are some reports that certain species of swellsharks, such as the draughtsboard shark, emit noises that sound like a bark when above water. Researchers have concluded that this noise does not come from vocal ability, but instead is a defense mechanism. Underwater, these sharks inflate their bodies with water to scare predators. When pulled above the surface, however, these sharks fill with air and emit a barking noise as that air is released. 

While sharks cannot vocalize in the way that other animals can, they have other means of communication. Sharks’ senses of sight, hearing and smell allow them to hunt and be aware of other sharks around them. As mostly solitary animals, many sharks do not need to communicate with others; however, they do use their heightened senses to assist them in finding a mate. They use additional means of communication, such as movement and smell, to aid in that process. 

Stay tuned as we answer more questions about our aquatic world! 

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

Spooky Sharks

Published October 21, 2019

How Do Marine Animals Weather Hurricanes?

Published October 17, 2019