Do snakes have ears? Can they hear?

It's probably a question that we all have asked ourselves and others. It's probably how you wound up hear. As you can visually confirm snakes do not have ear lobes. And this is what brings about the question.

If you get close enough to them, you will notice that they do not have an ear opening or even a simple opening that would serve as one, but being as it is; snakes are terrifying to some people, then pictures will have to suffice for some people.

How do they hear?
Research has also shown that snakes do not have the middle ear as most animals would have, this commonly known as the ear drum. This is what to us humans, receives the vibrations or sound waves that are air borne and convert them to fluid borne sounds in the inner ear, which is what snakes have. And it's in the inner ear that the vibrations are transmitted from as nerve impulses into the brain for interpretation.

What is the science behind it?
So this leaves the question how the sound is directed into the inner ear in the first place.

• It's easiest to describe it as a vibration based hearing system, where the snake basically receives the sound waves and practically feels them through its body. This absolutely makes sense if you think about it.
• The snake's skin and its muscles are highly sensitive to vibration. So sound made that is ground based is easily heard by the snake due to a great magnitude of vibrations that are generated by sounds made directly on the ground. This includes a distant possible predator or prey, and based on the magnitude of the vibrations and therefore sound, the snake can make a ‘judgment call' on how far the prey/predator is.

The verdict is……
By this logic, it would mean that snakes can only perceive sounds made on the ground like walking and that they can't hear sounds that are air borne. But some experiments have shown this to be untrue. The system in which a snake hears airborne sounds can probably be explained as a somatic audio perception system. This means that rather than the sound going into the inner ear directly, due to the lack of the tympanic membrane and outer ear, the sound enters its body and nerve impulses are perceived off the snakes body and organs rather than off the source of sound directly so the snake can't make out all sound frequencies properly but it DOES HEA

Read the How to get rid of snakes page for helpful information and to learn more about Do snakes have ears? Can they hear?

Do snakes have ears? Can they hear?

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