July 24, 2023 2 min read

This may come as a surprise to you, but humans aren’t the only noisy sleepers in the animal kingdom. Many pet owners know this quite well, and biologists have confirmed that, yes, animals snore too. 


Which brings us to one very important question: what animal snores the loudest? Truth be told, we really don’t know since there hasn’t been any serious research on this subject, but we do know that animals do snore and that they can do so loudly!

Snoring in the Animal Kingdom

Snoring isn’t a uniquely human trait. Any mammal with soft tissue surrounding its airways has the ability to snore. Snoring happens when there’s some kind of obstruction in the airways that causes turbulent airflow. This turbulence can then cause the flappy tissues in the upper airway to vibrate, leading to the noise we know as snoring. 


While any animal can snore, humans are most likely to do so due to our unique anatomy and modern lifestyle. To get into specifics, we have developed an elongated neck, a tongue that sits further back in the mouth, and a centrally positioned throat relative to the head [1]. All this has created a fairly constricted airway that makes snoring more likely. Add excess weight around the neck and alcohol to the picture and snoring becomes almost inevitable. 


With other animals, however, snoring is not as common. Some researchers see snoring as an evolutionary mistake since it puts us at risk of making ourselves known to predators [2]. There seems to be a strong selective pressure against snoring in the wild, but not for us. 


But when it comes to domestic and selectively bred animals, things are quite different. Researchers have described snoring and sleep apnea in the English bulldog and other flat-faced breeds [3]. These animals often have breathing difficulties due to their short airways, which makes them prone to snoring. Domestic animals are also more likely to be overweight — another known risk for snoring.

Which Animal Snores the Loudest?

According to Guinness World Records, the loudest recorded snore comes from a human: Kåre Walkert from Sweden measuring 93 decibels [4]. That’s louder than a power mower or Boeing 737!


But unfortunately, we haven’t yet been able to compare this record with other species. We can only guess which animals could compete in this department — probably those with larger bodies and throats. 


We know, for example, that bears can produce some heroic snores from anecdotes. There was a recent news report of a California family who heard what sounded like snoring in their home at what turned out to be a family of bears hibernating in their crawlspace [5].

References: 

  1. Human Evolution and Snoring. SnoreLab. Accessed July 2023. https://www.snorelab.com/human-evolution-and-snoring

  1. Holley L. Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Insomnia, and Snoring: Evolutionary Adaptations to Increase Alertness During Sleep?.J Clin Sleep Med. 2019;15(3):523. Published 2019 Mar 15.doi:10.5664/jcsm.7696

  1. Chopra S, Polotsky VY, Jun JC. Sleep Apnea Research in Animals. Past, Present, and Future.Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2016;54(3):299-305.doi:10.1165/rcmb.2015-0218TR

  1. Loudest snoring. Guinness World Records. Accessed July 2023. 

https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/67591-loudest-snoring


  1. Hanson H. Family Finds Out 'Odd' Snoring Noises Are 5 Bears Hibernating Under House. Huffpost. Updated Apr 23, 2022https://www.huffpost.com/entry/5-bears-under-house_n_62643c7ee4b00b4e017ef157



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