From Zoo Tycoon (Microsoft) to Plants Vs Zombies (Pop Cap) to Inside Out (Disney), when there's a dolphin involved, it always comes with this sound effect:

What would be the motivation for so many people choosing to use the exact same recognisable sound effect? There seems to be little-no diversity in dolphin sound effects.

  • I'm not sure how we could possibly know "why". We could guess but I don't think that's very useful to the site in the long run. If you can edit or re-ask this with a more concrete goal in mind that would be good, otherwise it might be better suited to a different forum or a chat room: chat.stackexchange.com/rooms/13350/the-echo-chamber
    – user9881
    Jan 5, 2017 at 17:23
  • For the same reason people always incorporate the Wilhelm Scream in their films - it's a meme.
    – Mark
    Jan 5, 2017 at 23:26

2 Answers 2


There are some instantly recognisable dolphin sound effects, so most productions will use one of them to ensure there is no confusion, however I have heard various different noises used in films and games so it is not just one.

It's similar to the limited set of noises cats make. They make hisses, meows, purrs and growls. Dolphins make clicks, pops, whistles and rattles, and you hear all of these, but the most familiar are the clicks and whistles - so those are the ones most commonly used.


some of them are inside jokes, like the Wilhelm scream, but mostly it's due to the ubiquity of the Hollywood Edge libraries that everyone uses! Also, pretty sure the "eagle" sound is actually a red-tailed hawk ;)

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