All living creatures need to have some way to convey information to others, especially those who live in social groups. Few species have the ability to form words as humans understand them, or even complex expressions, but that does not mean they have no way to say something important. Animal communication takes many different forms such as auditory sounds, visual displays, chemical cues and even movements that send messages.

The ability to communicate is an adaptive skill that all creatures need to master in order to survive and thrive. Being able to talk to one another does not necessarily mean having to use words of the traditional sort. Through various body gestures, scents and sounds, one may be able to convey any number of ideas, thoughts, intentions and even instructions to others, even those of another species.

The need to communicate is a very basic necessity of all species and for many reasons. It can be used to convey a sense of danger, extend a welcome or even to express where one might find something to eat. This is also required if one wishes to make clear where the boundary lines are in a territorial dispute or when time comes to attract a mate.

In the animal kingdom, there are numerous ways to communicate though they can be simplified under just four methods. These may be used alone or in tandem with one or more of the others in order to make the intention very clear. Even for humans, it is not necessary to use actual words to make someone else understand what one wants.

Visual signals are easily recognizable and come in two separate types. Nature has given some species bright color combinations or patterns that are known as Badges and give them a unique look that can mean welcome to some animals who see them, and serve as a warning to others. Some creatures use the display technique, like a peacock spreading and shaking his tail feathers, to intimidate rivals or to attract potential mates.

Auditory signals is the method most easily recognized as a form of communication because certain sounds make a species immediately recognizable. The sounds produced by one set of creatures may sound all the same to those not of the same type, but to those in the group, there are thousands of slight differences that say plenty. Some animals produce noises that are either so high pitched, or so low that only others of like can detect or decipher them.

The use of smell is also a very effective form of communication in the animal kingdom. Pheromones are airborne chemicals that every animal emits, though few consciously detect them, that send signals of sexual readiness or social standing. Some species are equipped with special scent producing abilities that clearly express a warning sign to passersby that staying away is advisable.

Finally, there is the tactile method of animal communication. This includes things like a bee's dance that describes the location of a good nectar field, a cat rubbing on someone's leg for affection or any other type of body language. Each of the four categories has numerous sub methods and endless amounts of examples, and every one of them is equally effective.

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