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The Secret Language of Animals

The Secret Language of Animals: A Guide to remarkable Behavior, by Janine M.Benyus.

Animal behavior – we are familiar with domestic animals like dogs and cat. Perhaps a few of us have exposure to birds, like parakeets or parrots. There is of course Alex the African Grey Parrot. Benyus’s book is a sort of encyclopedic listing of Biological classification as well as behavioral information which includes behavior research of how many different species communicate with each other. Animal Language is a huge field of research, both with captive/zoo animals and from field research – going to animals natural environment.

How many times have you said or heard the following – “dogs can understand human language but we don’t understand their language.” Perhaps we weren’t really listening? Here’s a partial list of the animal species that Benyus discusses in her book: gorilla, lion, African Elephant, Plains Zebra, Black Rhinoceros, Giraffe, Ostrich, Greater Flamingos,  Nile Crocodile, Dolphin, Sea Lion, Gray Wolf, Beluga Whales and several more species. She is missing several species like the Prairie Dog who have a language and a vocabulary to describe the various humans seen in their territory.

This book seems to have been written for zoo visitors so that humans can take abit more away then seeing animals and then checking that species off their to do list. Hopefully this book will encourage students to learn more about animal behavior and even read more research about favorite species. The study of Animal Behavior is still a worthwhile career objective – and even a relevant side interest for all of us.


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