Howler monkeys' calls are up to 90dB - just less than a train and can be heard 5km away. Image Credit: Getty Images

The 10 loudest animals on Earth

  • BY Patrick Hsiao |
  • August 22, 2012

Ever been called a chatterbox? Or a loudmouth? You've got nothing on these animals.

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MOST OF THE TIME, it's in an animal's best interest to be undetectable, but sometimes it's useful to be loud - very loud.

While a normal human conversation registers at about 60 decibels (dB), some animals can screech, scream and holler much louder than a subway train (100dB). The human threshold of pain is 120, and at 160 your eardrum will rupture, but many loud animal calls are not designed for human ears. 

The sounds these animals make are not just for show; spread over land and sea, each has a purpose. Socially motivated reasons include finding another individual, defending territory, romancing a mate or warning companions of predators.

"Altruism is very relevant to animal calling," says Dr Michael Kokkina, a zoologist from the University of South Australia. "They want to spread the message far and wide."

The animal at the top of our list, however, - the tiger pistol shrimp - generates noise as a way of stunning its prey.

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