Here are puffins, sounding like chainsaws.
January 22, 2019 2:54 PM   Subscribe

Animals Keep Creating Mysteries by Sounding Weird (SLAtlantic) (Includes lotsa cool videos)
posted by Grandysaur (24 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Labeled NSFC due to tortoise porn.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:25 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

whoever took that tortoise video found it suitable for children!

"We want to hear what you think about this article."

that must be The Atlantic's standard article footer, but it probably should have been reconsidered in this case.

I echo the tortoise's statement, "aaaaaaaoaooaaooouoooouooooouoououuuuuuuu!!!"
posted by gkr at 4:11 PM on January 22, 2019 [2 favorites]

Here are puffins, sounding like chainsaws.

Do they though? If only we had a puffin boffin.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:59 PM on January 22, 2019 [9 favorites]

You need a waxer, not a chainsaw, for puffin buffin’.
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:14 PM on January 22, 2019 [10 favorites]

Those lynx noises were insane. I’d be scared to death if I heard that in the wild.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:13 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

I miiiiiiiiight have told this story before, but there was an incident in my hometown involving freaky animal noises that kind of became our smalltown Big Signature Story: a lengthier account is here, but the upshot is that in the 1750s, the whole town got woken up in the middle of the night by these freaky-ass booming noises coming out of the woods. They posted a guard and cowered all night petrified in their houses, and sent a search party out the next morning after the noises died down - to find that they'd been caused by scores and scores of bullfrogs fighting in the drying-up mill pond just outside town.

I grew up hearing that story all through elementary school. But never really considered what it might have sounded like until I was writing a piece on it for Atlas Obscura; I reached out to a herpetologist in town and somehow ended up in her kitchen listening to bullfrog mating calls for an hour and a half. And it was totally fascinating, and she gave me an idea about what the sound may have been like: In this video, you can hear a pair of bullfrogs calling, but they sort of gradually synchronize and harmonize, with them alternating each note in their respective calls and taking turns. She said that that was typically what bullfrogs did, so the females could distinguish one male from another and find their way to the dude frog they'd specifically chosen. But she'd also found that when there were instances of environmental stress - such as, say, when a drying-up pond caused each of the males' territory to shrink and making them compete - that kind of synchronization goes out the window and the bullfrogs just all start shouting at the same time, every frog for himself.

So basically what my hometown forbears heard was probably something like if you took 78 distinct recordings of bullfrog calls and played them all at the same time overlapping each other at top volume, and even though I'm used to the sound of normal bullfrog calls, THAT would indeed be freaky.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:41 PM on January 22, 2019 [9 favorites]

Eiders sound lascivious.
The tokay gecko, aka the fuck-you “bird”.
posted by scruss at 6:53 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

The tokay gecko, aka the fuck-you “bird”.

Doesn't do it justice. Those motherfuckers are a foot long and earsplitting in an echoey place (we had one in our shower pipe in Cambodia), and they won't bite you. They're used to you. Once they realize you won't eat them, or you don't have a dog in the place, or you can't reach down the pipe far enough to bother them - ALL. NIGHT. LONG. EVERY. NIGHT. FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOU. FROM THE PIPE. OMG.

You cannot get through an evening in southeast Asia without hearing one.
posted by saysthis at 7:55 PM on January 22, 2019 [4 favorites]

They also eat mosquitoes and are generally agreed to be a beneficial inhabitant of human structures. Welcome, but REALLY REALLY LOUD. FUCKYOUFUCKYOUFUCKYOU.
posted by saysthis at 8:00 PM on January 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

One more on tokays before I'm done. This video is a man capturing and intentionally being bitten by a tokay in Florida. (Where apparently they're an invasive species? Dear god, lizard kudzu...) The video doesn't do much to highlight their sound but it does show you why people generally leave the loud geckos alone rather than try to remove/kill them.
posted by saysthis at 8:17 PM on January 22, 2019

I need the lynx conversation to be my ringtone.
posted by How much is that froggie in the window at 9:11 PM on January 22, 2019 [3 favorites]

Are we sure those are chainsaws? For a moment, there, it sounded like the puffins were riding dirt bikes.
posted by darkstar at 10:33 PM on January 22, 2019 [6 favorites]

That brush-tailed possum makes the same noise I do when something annoying happens.
posted by Paul Slade at 11:00 PM on January 22, 2019

Those motherfuckers are a foot long and earsplitting in an echoey place (we had one in our shower pipe in Cambodia), and they won't bite you.
Your subsequently posted video indicates that "won't" may be over-optimistic!

I was unaware of the cricket theory for the Cuban US Embassy noise - so good to find that one out too.
posted by rongorongo at 3:07 AM on January 23, 2019

(While we are looking at "noises animals make, which we would not normally suspect them to" - we should spare a thought for the sister top of "noises animals don't really make but which we believe they do" - such as the neigh - actually a rarely used long distance calling vocalisation - that accompanies the appearance of every on-screen horse . Always this recording too - whoah Tonto!)
posted by rongorongo at 3:21 AM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

The tortoise killed me, but the most frightening sound I have ever heard was the scream of a mountain lion in the middle of the night, while camping, alone. I had heard that they sounded like a woman screaming, but oh boy. I was not prepared for this.
posted by bradth27 at 7:00 AM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

The lynx noises sound like my old cat when he looked out the window and saw the neighbor's cat on my porch, staring in at him. The wailing growls would not stop until I went out on the porch and clapped my hands and yelled "shoo!" and made the neighbor's cat run away. On summer nights when my windows are open I often hear those cat noises outside, and other than making a quick inventory of my cats, I don't worry about it. I suppose the lynxes are a louder version of it and might be scarier because of that.
posted by elizilla at 7:04 AM on January 23, 2019

Can't find a recording, but UK hedgehogs mating sound alarmingly like eefing.
posted by scruss at 7:23 AM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

"Here are puffins, sounding like chainsaws"

Here is a Kazakh newscaster sounding like an engine having trouble starting

(humans are animals too, right?)
posted by komara at 8:03 AM on January 23, 2019 [1 favorite]

Well, this is perfect timing for me. A couple nights ago, I heroically refrained from waking my sleeping spouse to share the weirdest freaking noises I've ever heard at night.

I've often heard the patter of mice in our room after dark--we live in a 90-year-old house in ruburbian New England, we're GONNA have mice--but this time I heard the usual little scuffle-scuffle of feet, followed by a loud "bzzzt bzzzt," almost a mechanical sound that I simply could not place at all. Heard it several times, traveling from place to place around the room. In the morning I tried to describe the buzzing mouse and was met with incredulity.

Then I Googled it this morning--and here it is. A pest control site also verified something similar about deer mice: "They tend to be quite noisy as they will drum their paws at a speed so great that they sound like buzzing insects or humming electrical wires." Basically, I was relieved that the little bastards weren't electrocuting themselves by chewing on our wires as I listened. Hell, they may yet be, but at least I know that right now it's just nature taking its own weird course.
posted by dlugoczaj at 8:48 AM on January 23, 2019 [5 favorites]

Cool Papa Bell: Still my favorite sound of rain -- possums eating bananas.

Me: Wouldn't using something like water be easier?
Foley artist, carrying several bunches of bananas, standing in front of a cage full of opossums: Nah, this is better.
posted by mhum at 1:31 PM on January 23, 2019 [4 favorites]

My favorite weird-sounding animal: the barking cat.
posted by Guy Smiley at 2:33 PM on January 23, 2019 [2 favorites]

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