​Animal Communication: Present Simple

Level: B1

Every living creature communicates in a unique way. A crab waves its claws to say it is healthy and well and a goat keeps its tail up when it is pleased and happy. Gorilla also moves its body to communicate. When a male gorilla is together with its rival it leans forward and beats on its chest to demonstrate strength. While a group of bisons uses democracy in communication. When a herd migrates each herd member can vote which way to go. If a bison wants to vote it slowly shifts its body towards preferred direction. If no one disagrees all herd follows. It is interesting that a group is more likely to follow if an adult female takes initiative. A bee also helps the members of its colony. Usually one bee performs a dance and informs other bees of food nearby.

Language for some animals involves change in looks. A squid changes its colour if it wants to start a family and cuttlefish creates different patterns on its skin for protection. When an octopus defends itself it turns white.

Communication for other creatures includes sounds. A dominant chimp in a group hums loudly as it eats. This way it signals that there is enough food and others can feel safe. It also demonstrates own dominance. However, a sea animal often uses sounds because it can’t see well. For example, a baby dolphin learns to whistle from its mother. When it whistles it signals its own size, age and gender to other dolphins. A killer whale also makes sounds. It produces more sounds if it swims close to others. This way a group leader monitors the group and other killer whales can recognize each other.

Comprehension questions:

Which animal… (encourage students to reply in full sentences by showing the example)

  1. ... waves its claws?
  2. ... keeps its tail up?
  3. ... leans forward and beats its chest?
  4. ... shifts its body?
  5. ... helps the members of its group?
  6. ... dances?
  7. ... informs others of food nearby?
  8. ... changes its colour?
  9. ... turns white for protection?
  10. ... hums when it eats?
  11. ... whistles?
  • Divide students into groups and make them ask questions about the animals in the text.
  • Add a group a point if they reply with a word and two points if give a full sentence as an answer.
  • Students divide animals into 3 groups: sounds - colour - movements. 
  • Then retell the text using their notes.

Homework tasks:

Choose one task and write a short story. Use internet and dictionary to help you.

  1. Think about your pet or choose a pet animal you like. How do they communicate?
  2. Create a fantasy creature and write how it communicates. 
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