Can Snakes Hear Sound And Do They Have Ears?

Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we may earn a commission from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links on this website from Amazon and other third parties.

Do snakes hear sound? Believe it or not, this is a question that scientists have asked for quite some time! In this blog post, we will take a look at the research that has been conducted on snake hearing and explore their ears in detail. You may be surprised to learn just how well these reptiles can hear.




Snakes are a fascinating group of animals that have many unique adaptations. One area of interest is their sense of hearing.

Unlike humans and other mammals, snakes do not have external ears.

However, they do have inner ears, and they are able to hear sound waves by picking up vibrations through their skin.

In addition, some snakes also have a special bone in their jaw that helps them to sense low-frequency vibrations.

As a result, snakes are able to hear a wide range of sounds, including the movements of other animals.

This ability gives them a significant advantage in locating prey and avoiding predators.


The basics of snake hearing


Contrary to popular belief, snakes do have ears—however, they are internal and relatively primitive.

While most mammals have three bones in their middle ear that helps to amplify sound, snakes only have one.

As a result, they are not able to hear very high-frequency sounds. In addition, the opening to their ear is located on the side of their head, just behind their eye.

This position allows them to pick up low-frequency vibrations, such as those made by moving prey. Studies have shown that snakes are most sensitive to frequencies between 100 and 1000 Hz, which is similar to the range of human hearing.

However, they are not able to localize sound very well, so they often rely on other cues, such as visual cues, to locate their prey.


How snakes use their hearing to survive


Though they lack external ears, snakes are able to hear using a special bone in their jaw, which is connected to their inner ear.

This bone, called the quadrate, vibrates when it comes into contact with sound waves, which the snake then interprets.

Snakes use their hearing to detect the movements of their prey, as well as to avoid predators. For example, many species of snake will alert other snakes to the approach of a predator by emitting a high-pitched noise.

In addition, some snakes can also sense the infrasound created by earthquakes and volcanoes, which helps them to predict these natural disasters and escape to safety.

Without their hearing, snakes would be at a serious disadvantage in the wild.


Do all snakes have ears?


The common misconception is that snakes do not have any ears. This is false – all snakes have ears, but they are internal and very hard to see.

The ear opening is located behind the eye, and there are usually two scales that cover it.

If you look closely, you can sometimes see the scale move when the snake hears a noise.

Snakes use their sense of hearing to detect predators and prey, as well as to communicate with other snakes. They also use vibrations to sense their surroundings, which is why they can often be seen “shaking” their heads.

Although they don’t have external ears, snakes are able to hear just as well as any other animal.


What kind of sounds do snakes hear best?


Snakes are reptiles that have sensitive hearing and can pick up a wide range of frequencies. Depending on the species, they can hear both low- and high-pitched sounds.

In general, snakes are most sensitive to sounds in the ultrasonic range, which are beyond the hearing range of humans.

This high-frequency sensitivity is thought to help snakes locate their prey. Studies have shown that snakes are able to detect moving prey at a distance and can strike with amazing accuracy.

In addition, some snakes use low-frequency sounds to communicate with other members of their species. For example, female rattlesnakes will vibrate their tails to produce a distinctive sound that attracts males for breeding.

Are there any benefits to having good snake hearing abilities?


Snakes are often thought of as being silent and stealthy predators, but some species of snakes actually have good hearing abilities. This is especially true for snakes that live in areas with a lot of background noise, such as near rivers or waterfalls.

In these environments, hearing is more important than a vision for locating potential prey. Additionally, some snakes use their hearing to communicate with other snakes.

For example, rattlesnakes produce a distinctive sound by vibrating their tail against the ground, which serves as a warning to other snakes.

Similarly, garter snakes emit a high-pitched noise when they are alarmed, which causes other garter snakes in the area to freeze in place.

Therefore, having good hearing can be beneficial for both hunting and communication with snakes.


How can you tell if a snake is deaf or not deafened by an injury or infection?


If you are trying to determine whether or not a snake is deaf, there are a few things you can look for.

One is whether or not the snake responds to sound. If the snake does not react to loud noises or movements nearby, it is likely deaf.

Another way to tell if a snake is deaf is by observing its behavior.

If the snake does not startle at sudden movements and seems uninterested in its surroundings, it is likely deaf.

Finally, you can try to get the snake’s attention by waving your hand in front of its head.

If the snake does not react, it is probably deaf. While these methods are not foolproof, they can give you a good idea of whether or not a snake has lost its sense of hearing.

About the author

Latest posts

  • Can You Pick Up Grass Snakes? Tips and Precautions

    Can You Pick Up Grass Snakes? Tips and Precautions

    Yes, you can pick up grass snakes. However, it’s important to handle them gently and with care to avoid causing them any harm.   Is It Safe to Pick Up Grass Snakes?   Grass snakes are non-venomous, harmless snakes commonly found in grassy areas and gardens. They are docile and generally not aggressive towards humans.…

    Read more

  • Can Grass Snakes Hurt Cats? A Clear Answer with Expert Knowledge

    Can Grass Snakes Hurt Cats? A Clear Answer with Expert Knowledge

    Grass snakes are not harmful to cats. They are non-venomous and typically avoid confrontation with larger animals. In fact, they are more likely to flee when encountering a cat. However, it’s always best to supervise your pets when they are outdoors to ensure their safety.   Potential Risks to Cats Bite Risks   Grass snakes…

    Read more