Leopard geckos make for adorable and fascinating pets, and they are a very interesting species to learn about. Have you ever wondered: do leopard geckos have ears?
Leopard geckos do have ears, although they do not have an external structure in the same way that many other animal ears do. The ears of leopard geckos are small holes on the side of their heads through which sound travels to reach their eardrums.
Read ahead in this article to find out everything you need to know about the way that leopard geckos hear the world around them, and how good their hearing really is!
Can Leopard Geckos Hear You?
You might think of a leopard gecko and assume that they wouldn’t necessarily be able to hear too much, as they don’t have visible ears on the outside of their heads. If you look closely, though, you will be able to see a leopard gecko’s ears for yourself.
Leopard geckos, much like many other reptile species, have small holes on the sides of their heads that function as their ears. Sound waves enter through these holes and bounce around inside the ear canal before reaching their eardrums, where they can be interpreted as sounds that the lizard can hear.
In fact, leopard geckos are more than capable of hearing you talk and move around. If you speak to your leopard gecko, chances are they will turn to look at you. They are even able to tell which direction different sounds are coming from.
Leopard geckos have a pinna, which is an external ear flap, but it is very small and does not protrude from their head, but serves to direct the sound slightly.
The pinna directs sound waves into the ear canal where the sound waves hit the eardrum so it vibrates.
When the inner ear is stimulated, it sends nerve impulses to the brain and the brain interprets them as sound.
Since the ear flap is not as pronounced in leopard geckos as it is in mammals, the ear is not as susceptible to injury.
As humans, we find it quite easy to figure out the location that a sound is coming from because of how widely spaced our ears are and due to our larger ear flaps.
Leopard geckos, on the other hand (and the 15,000 other animal species with similar ear canals), have to interpret the way sound waves bounce inside their ears to tell where a noise originated.
It’s such an innovative process that researchers have used a similar idea to develop miniature light detectors!
Can Leopard Geckos Sense You with Their Tongues?
It’s not just hearing and sight that leopard geckos rely on to understand their environment – they can sense your presence with their tongues as well.
You might notice a leopard gecko flicking their tongue out every now and then, particularly in a new place. They’re not licking their lips, they’re actually “tasting” the air!
Leopard geckos have a special sensory organ known as a “Jacobson’s Organ”, which is found on the top of their mouths.
This lets them taste and sense the world around them. It is able to decode scent information and interpret many things from moisture-bound particles in the air.
Using their Jacobson’s Organ, leopard geckos can sense living things that are nearby, including you!
Do Leopard Geckos Hear Well? (Do They Have Good Hearing?)
So, with such tiny heads and small ear canals, are these adorable little lizards actually able to hear well? It might surprise you to find out that leopard geckos actually have very good hearing, and they can interpret a wide variety of sounds.
They are used to living in quiet environments, like the desert, so they have developed a great sense of hearing that allows them to pick up on even very quiet sounds. Any noises in the wild may indicate prey that is nearby or predators that they need to avoid.
In fact, most lizards can not only hear subtle sounds they are also able to hear fairly high frequencies of sound but most hear best within the 400 to 2000 hertz range.
A great clue as to how well geckos are able to hear is the noises that they make themselves. If you’ve ever brought a leopard gecko up to your ear, you might have heard them emitting a soft, chirping sound.
This is how they communicate with each other, and it’s a beautiful sound, but it’s very quiet!
However, they may also emit louder sounds to communicate over long distances, for example, to attract a mate.
They are able to hear that sound from each other at quite some distance away, which shows you how good the hearing of these fascinating lizards really is.
Do Leopard Geckos Have Very Sensitive Ears? (Do They Hate Noise?)
So, not only do leopard geckos have ears, but they can actually hear really well! Are they sensitive to loud sounds, though? And does noise upset them?
Although they don’t need to rely on their hearing to survive in captivity, all leopard geckos have very sensitive hearing.
Loud noises can be stressful and upsetting for a leopard gecko, particularly if they are sudden and unexpected. Music from a sound system, for example, is often much louder than anything that these lizards would normally be used to, and it can cause them to become very anxious.
High volume sounds, particularly those of low frequency that cause vibrations, can be upsetting enough for your leopard gecko to lose trust in you, so it’s best to avoid these where you can.
They don’t hate all sounds, though. Gentle nature noises can be quite soothing for a leopard gecko, and they are known to respond positively to the sound of their owner’s voice.
Because their hearing is so sensitive, your leopard gecko will be able to recognize your voice from all the way across the room, which can cheer them up and help you to bond!
Leopard geckos might seem like they’re very simple creatures, but they’re actually quite advanced when it comes to their senses!
With their ability to sense the environment around them through their hearing, smell, and sight, they are remarkably advanced creatures that can also be wonderful pets.
They can interpret your voice and noises you make, they can hear you and they can even smell you to recognize you from across the room if you have recently washed with a scented product.
They also have excellent vision and can easily tell who is around them.
There is a lot that we can learn from the way that leopard geckos interpret their environment and communicate with each other, and it’s just one of the reasons why we love these adorable little lizards so much!