Snakes are unique animals with their limbless bodies, swirling tongues and the ability to devour prey whole. They rely most on their sense of smell to hunt prey, although they also use sight and sound. But do snakes have ears?
Yes and no, Sara Ruane, a herpetologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, told WordsSideKick.com. Like many reptiles, snakes do not have an external ear structure. However, they have ear bones in their head that they use to hear.
“When you think of animals, whether it’s a dog or a jack rabbit, they hear a noise in a different direction and shift their outer ear to better capture that sound if it happens again, “said Ruane. An inner ear is the part where the actual nuts and ear bolts occur. “Hoses only have nuts and bolts part of the ear.
Related: What is the biggest animal that a snake can swallow?
Ears typically consist of three main parts. The outer ear focuses the sound on the eardrum, which separates the outer ear from the middle ear. The middle ear contains three bones that transmit sound from the eardrum to the inner ear via vibrations. The inner ear transforms these vibrations into nerve impulses that move to the brain.
Snakes lack both an outer ear and a middle ear, according to a 201
Due to this ear setup, snakes only hear a narrow frequency range. They can hear low frequencies but not high frequencies because these sounds are mostly transmitted through the air. For example, royal pythons is best for hearing frequencies between 80 and 160 Hertz, according to the 2012 study. For comparison, the normal human frequency range is 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz according to “Neuroscience“(Sinauer Associates, Inc. 2001).
“If you swam and went underwater and someone standing next to the pool shouted at you, you would hear them,” Ruane said. “You may not be able to figure out the details … That’s what snakes hear at higher frequencies.”
This narrow hearing is not a problem for snakes, in part because they do not use vocalizations to communicate with each other. The vocalizations they make, such as hissing or growling, are at higher frequencies than they listen to, and are likely intended for birds and mammals, according to the study.
The major reason snakes do not need sensitive hearing is because they rely on other senses. Their sense of smell is especially helpful. “Snakes knock out the tongue and collect all the odor molecules that are in the air nearby and bring it back to a special organ they have for treating it, and to their brain,” Ruane said. So even though they do not have a chance to hear most other animals out, “snakes are the chemosensory kings.”
Originally published on WordsSideKick.com.