Top 15 Quietest Animals In Wildlife [Pictures]

Photo: Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Some of the quietest animals in the world are so unspeakably quiet that it’s borderline impossible for us to hear them. Because of this, not only are they fascinating, but many people find them frightening. In today’s article, we’ll be taking a look at 15 of the most quiet animals in the world.

You’ll find the list of the quietest animals below:

  • Rabbits
  • Tigers
  • Giraffes
  • Deer
  • Hedgehogs
  • Snakes
  • Owls
  • Spiders
  • Jaguars
  • Crabs
  • Bobcats
  • Crocodiles and Alligators
  • Lizards
  • Sloths
  • Sharks

* Note: animals are ranked in order of their search volume.

1. Rabbits

Photo: Kevin Jump / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Scientific name (family): Leporidae

Rabbits are almost completely defenseless when it comes to surviving in the great outdoors, which is why stealth is crucial to their survival. Since they don’t have vocal cords, they can’t produce any sounds with their mouth.

Additionally, the soft padding on their feet makes them almost impossible to hear when they’re walking, and even when they’re hopping. Because of this, they’re some of the quietest animals in the world, almost completely undetectable by ear in the wild.

2. Tigers

Photo: Mathias Appel / Flickr / CC0 1.0

Scientific name: Panthera tigris

There are two living subspecies of tiger and they’re the largest, but also some of the quietest cat species in the world. Staying quiet in the jungle is essential for them in order to catch prey.

Because of their massive size, they’re bound to get attention in the wild and possibly make noise, which is why these cats learned to sneak around to get their prey. Adding that to their characteristic stripes, tigers can easily camouflage in the background, staying one step ahead of their prey.

3. Giraffes

Photo: Steven & Claire Farnsworth / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (genus): Giraffa

Just like rabbits, giraffes can’t make noise with their mouth because they don’t have vocal cords. This might be an evolutionary trait since they’re in constant danger in the savannah.

These giants accompany this with their natural stealth in movement – they don’t move unless they have to and try to keep a low profile. The only sound they do make with their mouth has nothing to do with their vocal cords and it’s too low of a frequency for most animals to hear.

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4. Deer

Photo: John Stratford / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Scientific name (family): Cervidae

They might be quite loud in a herd, but a single deer or doe can move past you in the woods and you wouldn’t even know that they were there. Deer are animals of great hearing, which is why they themselves are so quiet.

Since they can’t defend themselves from predators in the wild, their primary strategy is to move around and stay as quiet as possible. Because of their natural quietness, deer run as soon as they hear any sort of movement near them.

Does are naturally more quiet than deer and individually, they’re not easy to spot. Their hooves don’t make much sound when they’re walking and they usually don’t vocalize.

5. Hedgehog

Photo: semantix_photo / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (subfamily): Erinaceinae

Hedgehogs are mostly silent because of their size. These quiet small animals stay close to the ground and the only thing they touch when they move is grass. This is another way of staying safe from predators, just like the spikes on their backs.

They’re also nocturnal animals, lowering the chances of anyone hearing them when they move. Something that also characterizes them is their shyness, as they try to stay away from all other animals, living in relative isolation and burrowing into holes.

6. Snakes

Photo: tabacco / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Scientific name (suborder): Serpentes

Snakes are some of the most feared animals on the planet, and they owe a massive part of that reputation to their natural stealth. These slithering animals make virtually no sound when they move, while they also don’t vocalize at all.

The only sound coming from their mouth is hissing, which is usually silent. Combining that with natural stealth of movement and the ability to crawl into most places, snakes are usually feared all around the world.

The fact that they’re the quietest reptiles comes in handy when hunting, as most snakes just sit and wait until prey moves closer before striking. This method also makes them some of the most lethal hunters in the world.

7. Owls

Photo: Farid Fleifel / Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Scientific name (order): Strigiformes

Owls are, without a doubt, the quietest birds in the world. By this, we’re excluding their nightly hooting, and we’re referring to the flapping of their wings.

Owls are the only birds in the world that don’t make a sound when they wave their wings. Even the smallest of birds make a sound, although we can’t hear it because our hearing isn’t that good. Owls, however, are completely silent and don’t make any sounds when they’re flying.

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This is what makes them such good hunters and why most prey doesn’t even know that they’re there until it’s too late.

8. Spiders

Photo: Jean and Fred / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Scientific name (order): Araneae

There are many insects that can be insufferably loud – spiders aren’t one of them. In fact, the fact that they’re some of the quietest insects in the world makes them good hunters.

This is especially important for spiders such as tarantulas, subspecies that don’t catch prey with a web but are rather actively hunting. They can sneak up on their prey easily.

Spiders are possibly the most inconspicuous animals on this list, as they can easily be nesting up in a web in the corner of your ceiling and you wouldn’t even know it since they won’t make a sound!

9. Jaguars

Photo: Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

Scientific name: Panthera onca

Jaguars are the quietest large cats in the world, with the black jaguars, or panthers, being some of the stealthiest animals in existence. These cats are apex predators, they can sneak up on any animal in existence and they have one of the most powerful bites in the animal world.

Of course, they can vocalize, but they don’t do that when they’re hunting. Despite their impressive size, no animal in the wild can hear a jaguar moving through the thick jungle, making them arguably the greatest hunters in the world.

10. Crabs

Photo: Linda Tanner / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (infraorder): Brachyura

You might be surprised by this entry on the list, but crabs are oddly silent. When we say this, we’re not just talking about their silent movements underneath the surface of water, but on the ground too.

Aside from them clicking their pincers every now and again, crabs, similar to spiders, can’t be heard when they’re walking. This comes in handy when they have to hide from predators, which are most often humans and seagulls.

11. Bobcats

Photo: Yellowstone National Park / Flickr / CC PDM 1.0

Scientific name: Lynx rufus

This cat, although not as large as the tiger or the jaguar, is an incredibly silent predator that can easily sneak up on all prey. It utilizes its natural stealth abilities to stalk and ambush its prey.

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Given this element of surprise, the bobcat is often killing animals much larger than itself. They also spend a lot of time in the snow, as it naturally muffles their movement, making them even more difficult to hear.

12. Crocodiles and Alligators

Photo: Luc Legay / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Scientific name (order): Crocodilia

Both of these species deserve a spot on this list because of their impressive stealth, despite their massive size. Crocodiles can grow to incredible lengths, but they use a very intelligent strategy to hunt prey.

They lay low in the shallows of a river or a lake, waiting for prey to approach in order to lunge out the water, drag the animal in and kill it. When they’re hiding under the water, they can’t be detected as the only visible body part is their nostrils.

Crocodilians almost never hunt on the ground and they’ll always stick to water if possible, where they’re completely undetectable until it’s too late.

13. Lizards

Photo: Jeff Jackowski /   Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

Scientific name (suborder): Lacertilia

There are over six thousand species of lizards around the world, and we’re glad to say that the majority of them are completely harmless for humans. If anything, they’ll avoid us by all means.

This is great for us, as lizards are, just like snakes, virtually undetectable. They have very soft padding on their feet and they make no sound when they walk, while they can also easily scale walls.

Most of them don’t make any sounds with their mouths and they rarely hiss.

14. Sloths

Photo: Henryalien / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Scientific name (suborder): Folivora

These are by far the simplest animals of the bunch! Sloths spend the largest part of their day high up in the trees. Additionally, they spend most of their time either laying or hanging around, without moving a muscle.

This makes them inconspicuous, which is actually a strategy for hiding from predators. Although they can vocalize, they rarely do, and you could pass under one in the wilderness without even noticing them.

15. Sharks

Photo: Conal Gallagher / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Scientific name (clade): Selachimorpha

It’s obvious that humans can’t hear sharks above water, but that’s not what we’re referring to. Fish can hear what’s happening underwater, and a large shark swimming towards them quickly is going to both make a sound and cause vibrations.

At least, that’s what you’d think. Sharks have developed incredible silent swimming capabilities and most fish or seals, whatever their choice for a meal is, can’t hear them when they’re coming. This is both seriously impressive and frightening.

To End

As is everything in the animal world, silence is either used for hunting prey or to ensure that an animal doesn’t become prey. Jaguars are the most silent animals, by far, as they’re undetectable and no common animal can hear them in the wild.

However, quiet animals like owls, which hide the sound of their wings flapping, and snakes have to be considered too. Species like rabbits and giraffes have, in response to predators, become some of the quietest animals in the world to avoid being eaten, which is equally impressive.

James Ball

James has had a lifelong passion for animals and nature, tracing back to his childhood where he first began fostering intimate knowledge and connection with pet frogs and snakes. He has since honed this interest into a career as a trained Wildlife Biologist, specializing in Biogeography, sustainability and conservation. In addition to his professional pursuits, James maintains an active lifestyle, regularly indulging in outdoor activities such as hiking, and musical pursuits like playing piano and swimming.

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