Loud music and reptiles
April 17, 2014 11:28 AM   Subscribe

Our science museum throws weekly DJ dance parties in a building full of reptiles, amphibians and sea life. I think thick plastic may protect most of them from the noise. But this Yelp review made me wonder if the vibrations of the loud beats could be stressing them out or worse. Is it harmful for an alligator to have to listen to Skrillex at high volume or are they OK with it?
posted by johngoren to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I think you should contact someone at the museum and ask, especially someone involved in the caretaking of the animals.

From my own experience working loud music events at my local zoo, the animal handlers are very aware of how the animals in their charge react to loud music and other stimuli, and have vetoed certain locations for certain events based on this knowledge. So my first thought is that they wouldn't be doing it if the animals weren't OK with it, and the Yelp reviewer is just spitballing (note that the reviewer would like quieter music and less drinking at the event, so . . . . maybe a little projection is going on.)
posted by soundguy99 at 11:47 AM on April 17, 2014

Hit "post" too soon . . .

Which is to say, IME museum staff generally like talking to the public about what they do, so feel free to get the info straight from the horse's mouth rather than from Yelp reviews, and don't worry that your question is a big inconvenience to someone.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:56 AM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

A lot of reptiles in displays are pretty jaded, or "habituated" to loud thumping noise, because visitors regularly pound on the glass and scream. I was behind the scenes at the zoos reptile house and it sounded literally like zombies were trying to break in. Made me jumpy as hell, but the keepers didn't even notice it anymore, and the reptiles too seemed to ignore it.
posted by The otter lady at 12:11 PM on April 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

OK, I think it is probably OK and I'm sure they took the right precautions, but I guess I am wondering, is there a decibel level at which an alligator would actually become upset? Or are reptiles and amphibians just immune to all loud noises? I would ask the museum but they are not a disinterested party.
posted by johngoren at 12:44 PM on April 17, 2014

Suggesting you posit this question at a local zoo, which would have experts, and would be a disinterested party.
posted by bfranklin at 1:23 PM on April 17, 2014

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