Sound Habituation in Kangaroos

Intriguing result in new paper studying kangaroos’ response & habituation to natural vs unnatural novel sounds:

Sounds Scary? Lack of Habituation following the Presentation of Novel Sounds


Animals typically show less habituation to biologically meaningful sounds than to novel signals. We might therefore expect that acoustic deterrents should be based on natural sounds.

… The bull whip crack, an artificial sound, was as effective as the alarm stomp at eliciting aversive behaviors. Kangaroos did not fully habituate despite hearing the signal up to 20x/min. Highest rates of playback did not elicit the greatest responses, suggesting that ‘more is not always better’. Ultimately, by utilizing both artificial and biological sounds, predictability may be masked or offset, so that habituation is delayed and more effective deterrents may be produced.