Which mammal has no vocal cords?
Whether we speak or not, our vocal cords are the key to our ability to make sound and communicate with others. But while vocalization is a common way for many animals to communicate, some mammals cannot talk at all because they do not have vocal cords and larynx.
Vocal cords are pairs of lip-shaped folded membranes that work much like guitar strings. When air is blown across them, they vibrate, and the pitch of the sound produced is related to their size. Thicker cords produce lower sounds and thinner ones produce higher tones. This explains why larger animals typically produce deeper sounds than smaller ones.
Some animals that have no vocal cords are able to produce sounds similar to speech. For example, kangaroos, monkeys, and some sloths can produce calls and squeals that are not unlike human speech. Other animals, such as giraffes and hyenas, are able to produce noises using their tongues without the use of vocal cords.
Despite the fact that giraffes can’t make vocalizations to communicate, they are still able to “talk” with other giraffes and their herd. These sounds are more like a hiss or moan than a grunt and are made by placing their tongues in the trachea, which is 13 feet (4 meters) long! This unique method of communication is one of the many quirks that make giraffes so fascinating.