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Can Snakes Hear?

We all know that to be able to hear sounds, you need to have ears. Ears are what to detect, transmit and transduce sounds to persons or animals brain. So how is it possible for a snake to hear? There is no such thing as a snake with ears! Well, let me answer this mystery for you. Youll be surprised at how well a snake does so well without ears.

Yes, snakes can hear sound waves; however, they hear not like us. They feel vibrations from the sounds with the help of the mechanoreceptors on their bodies. Snakes don’t have ears, but this does not stop them from locating movement from the sound.

Another essential function of the ear in humans is to maintain our sense of balance. However, a snake does not require this sense of balance since snakes are flat and low to the ground and never fall over. 

How does a snake hear?

Snakes hear with the help of mechanoreceptors, and these are sensory nerves all over a snakes body. The mechanoreceptors are connected directly to the spinal cord. When sounds are made, these sounds hit the snake in vibration form. They move throughout the body along the spinal cord nerves and straight up into the brain, ready for recognising exactly where the movement has come from. This helps the snake to be able to locate the movement. 

What can snakes hear?

Snakes can hear sound waves from the movement of prey, earthquakes, tides, rain and low-frequency airborne sounds, such as thunder.

  • Movement on the ground
  • low-frequency airborne sounds

How far away can a snake pick up sound waves?

Snakes can pick up sounds from movement from up to 50 metres away. The sound wave is converted into vibrations from the mechanoreceptors into the snake’s brain, helping them pinpoint where the activity came from.

Can snakes get scared from loud sounds?

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If sounds are repeated, this can irritate a snake and lead to stress in a snake. It doesn’t scare them loud noises, but if constant, it will annoy them. They dont like loud noises and sounds that are constant. A stressed-out snake can show signs of loss of appetite or increased appetite and affect the shedding process.

Can snakes hear music?

They can hear music, but it won’t be the same as we would naturally hear music. Instead, snakes will listen to the vibrations in which the music will make, called sound waves. These sound waves will get picked up from the mechanoreceptors and relayed to the snake’s brain.

Do snakes appreciate music?

There is no known evidence that a snake enjoys music; it’s hard to tell if they do. However, snakes can sway from side to side to the vibrations of the music called Snake Charming, and the instrument that is generally used is a flute. Whether or not though the snake gets enjoyment from it, just trying to pinpoint the waves of the music.

A man is snake charming with a flute on a Cobra
Snake Charming

How to scare off a snake?

Since snakes hear from the sound waves, the vibrations will run all over their body to a snake’s brain. So perhaps a loud stomp would indicate to a snake that a much larger creature than themselves has created the movement, and this may suggest to them to stay away.

Conclusion

Even though snakes are thought to be deaf, they are not. Snakes can pick up sound vibrations. They dont have ears to detect, transmit and transduce sounds. They do have Mechanoreceptors to pick up touch, pressure, vibration, and sound from the external and internal environments. Perhaps if you’re trying to get away from a snake, making a bigger noise to what they consider easy prey might be a good idea or trying to keep as quiet as possible. However, dont quote me on this hopefully you will never come face to face with a wild snake. 

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