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Talking Animals?

September 8, 2021

Many of us who have spent decades in the wide open spaces of America have seen our share of talking animals. We’re not talking Dr. Doolittle here; Rather, we have been listening to the sounds of nature and its many treasured inhabitants. Yes, they do speak if only we will listen! We need to learn how to respond.

My own odyssey with talking animals began over 65 years ago on the open pasture land of the Upper Owens River in Northern California. While fishing for fat Brown Trout at age four and five, I often heard the nearby vocalizations of the many cows grazing there in the flooded pastures of spring. As I would pass, they would speak to me and so I often answered with variously pitched moos of my own. As the years rolled on, I became quite accomplished at bull shitting with my bovine friends. It is an odd talent I admit, but I was quite good at it. So I pushed on to learn the languages of many other animals as well.

As I grew up in California, I often found myself communicating with birds, deer, coyotes and a plethora of other creatures in their native tongues. Did you know that male and female deer have different vocalizations? Likewise, Chickadees have two ways of speaking, one female and one male. Regularly I found myself conversing with many animals in their own language; sort of an ASL (Animal As A Second Language) approach to conversation. It was an arrangement of total parity I suppose. They seemed to have been better off for the experience and so was I. What was left at the end of the day was a better understanding by all involved.

All of this is not to say that I had any tall, fuzzy friends named Harvey. I simply learned to communicate with the animals around me wherever I found myself in California’s rugged outbacks. Coyotes can be called, they can be answered and even convinced in an argument of howls. I know. I’ve been there!

Frequent visits as a child to Wyoming and Montana improved my language skills. I soon learned the proper way to bugle a bull elk and grunt a good sentence or two with the American Bison. To what end you ask? First to amuse myself a little but more importantly to try to understand the wildlife world around me. I have called owls to my side and we have discussed the prospects for night hunting. I have spoken to crickets to let them know I certainly wasn’t going to be the one to step on them. I even had a brief discourse once with an angry mother Black Bear in Yosemite. I just wanted to let her know I wasn’t a threat and I would appreciate the same accordance.

Talking animals? Really? Yes, absolutely! Just ask my friend in the photo above. We had an excellent discussion about why tourists get too close to elk. His points were well taken.

Having been a student of talking animals for decades, I feel obliged to ask, “Do you speak marmot?

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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  1. I had a friend who could read animals’ minds. He could get them to relax far longer than their owners thought possible. He said that seagulls only thought about food and sex (must have been male seagulls.)

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Squirrels have an interesting language. Kind of squirrely. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. That’s a fun bit of chatter!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I am, in Animal Speak, a stranger traversing a foreign land, as far as adding to the conversation – I just sit still and listen, and try to, let them know, through my body language and images/thoughts in my mind, who I am and where I’m at, and that I see/hear them. After a time? They put up with me chattering along in my main language, and share their insights in a way dummy, monolinguist me, actually ‘gets’ – 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you!


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Talking Animals? – Nelsapy
  2. Talking Animals? – The Urban Fishing Pole: Cigar Blogger, Lifestyle
  3. Zoanthropy | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity

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