1. Home

Are snakes bothered by loud noises?

By

Albino burmest pyton picture

Albino Burmese Python at Reptile World

Lianne McLeod
Question: Are snakes bothered by loud noises?
In the past it was a common belief that snakes couldn't hear much, if anything, since they have no external ears and don't seem to respond much to noises. However, some scientific research refutes this common misconception.
Answer: While snakes do not have external ears or eardrum, they do have innear ear structures. A bone called the quadrate bone (in the jaw) moves slightly in response to vibrations. It has been shown to respond to airborne vibrations as well as ground vibrations. As with other animal ears, this movement is transferred (via bones) to the inner ear, from which signals are sent to the brain and are interpreted as sound. How much snakes can hear or how they process and interpret this information remains largely a mystery. However, some researchers determined that snakes are able to detect low frequency airborne vibrations through their inner ears. Snakes also respond to airborne vibrations via the lungs, and to ground vibrations via receptors associated with their belly muscles.

Technical details aside, loud noises (especially at a low frequency) can cause a snake to become agitated. While they may not show obvious signs of distress at loud noises, if they are exposed to repeated loud noises, snakes may be reluctant to eat or nervous and more likely to strike.

Have you ever felt a vibrating sensation when listening to loud music heavy on bass? Imagine what that might feel like to a snake who is built to "hear" that way. If your snake is living next to your stereo system, it might be a good idea to relocate the tank and possible reduce your snake's stress levels.

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Exotic Pets
  4. Reptiles and Amphibians
  5. Snakes
  6. Pet Snakes and Loud Noises - What Can Snakes Hear

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.