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Do Alligators Have Ears and How Well Can They Hear?

Do Alligators Have Ears and How Well Can They Hear

Alligators do have ears and have an exceptional hearing in both air and water. These cold-blooded species having excellent hearing ability, can detect piercing noises that humans cannot hear.

Alligators can precisely locate the source of noises. Before, it was unclear how they accomplished to do so because they lack external auditory structures. According to a new investigation, their ears are highly directional due to huge, air-filled passages linking both ears.

Where are the ears on an alligator?

Large alligator
Large alligator

Alligators have small holes in their skulls that link to their internal hearing. These ears are located just behind their eyes.

Because of the existence of small skin folds, once alligators fully immerse their bodies in the water, these holes immediately close. It keeps water from seeping into their ears.

Their ears are located at the top regions of their heads, allowing species to sense noises even while their limbs are often submerged in water.

This arrangement is comparable to birds, which have a channel that enhances directionality. This is not unusual, as birds and alligators share the same ancestor, the archosaur. Curious about how their hearing work? Below are more details about these unique hearing features of alligators.

Related Article: Do Alligators Eat Ducks?

Do alligators have internal or external ears?

Alligator Snout
Alligator Snout

Alligators do not have external ears, so they cannot hear as clearly as other animals. Some animals, including alligators, developed what experts call the pinnae and the interaural canals. These developments made it possible for the gators to hear better both on land and water.

Related Article: Are Alligators Mammals?

Can alligators hear well?

Alligator in captivity
Alligator in captivity

Alligators are capable of good hearing. The hearing of an alligator differs greatly from that of humans and other species. This is because they spend a lot of time underwater.

As a result, their hearing must be particularly modified to detect signals both on land and in the water. Alligators have evolved more effectively than their forebears, conquering their hearing issues in both land and water.

Alligators can hear sounds in both water and air. Like other animals, alligators have hair in their ears, and these hairs help manage the sounds.

Despite the ability to hear well, alligators do not really use this ability so much in hunting as much as they do with their senses of smell and touch.

Related Article: Are Alligators Cold-Blooded or Warm-Blooded?

Can alligators perceive sounds?

chinese alligator

Alligators have displayed remarkable hearing of sounds in both the air and the water. Many creatures, including alligators, possess hair cells on the inner ears that catch up on whatever noises they detect.

Although this is also true for many animals, the way sounds get delivered to the animal’s eardrum might vary. The hearing sensitivity of alligators across both air and water is roughly 800 Hz. It happens to be the frequencies at which alligator hatchlings trill.

Even though their auditory strength maximizes at nearly 800 Hz, they react to a broad spectrum of frequencies. The sound levels that alligators react to vary depending on if they are underneath or above water.

How does hearing help alligators in hunting?

Alligator in a river
Alligator in a river

Alligators have acute hearing, which aids them in searching for food. When they’re seeking prey,and it is particularly hazy,or if the lighting conditions are poor, they rely on their hearing.

They will often use their sense of smell to locate prey. Alligators are fortunate to have a great sense of smell. Their nostrils can alert them to the overall diversity of creatures in their environment.

They have a variety of auditory senses. To hear while they are above or underneath sea level, they largely use the sound waves that travel through the sea as vibrations. Furthermore, they have a small membrane named as tympanum on the back of their heads, known as the stapes.

Alligators hear whenever the tympanum in the internal ear feels vibrations in response to all sound waves that penetrate and convey it to the stapes. The sensory canal, which is located between its ears, aids it in pinpointing every movement and activity.

When hunting, their sense of hearing is not really as important as their sense of smell and touch. Even if an alligator is deaf, it can still hunt. It can smell blood in the water, and it can also smell carcasses even if it is far away.

Do loud noises scare alligators?

Crocodile standing in water

Sometimes loud noises may scare away alligators, crocodiles, or other reptiles; other times, it might not. Getting too close to them and creating noise might result in sudden attacks.

Since alligators are used to spending a lot of time underwater, biologists have been inspired to perform several types of research on alligator hearing.

They have not only discovered that alligators hear excellently both beneath and above the water, but they’ve also discovered reasoning for it. Researchers believe that alligators channel sounds into their ears when submerged via the vertebrae in their head called Dome pressure receptors, or DPRs.

Alligators may also achieve this by using skin receptors on their faces, according to biologists. This result was derived because the wavelengths often employed in alligator interactions are below the optimum hearing range in alligators.

Alligators do not get scared so easily. They are huge and powerful, and they know it. They are naturally scared of humans, but they will attack if need be.

A human making sounds will not scare a gator if it is protecting its young or its nest. As a territorial animal, it can also give chase despite a human screaming at it.

It is best to stay away from gators—they will not venture into human territory, but humans who encroach an alligator’s territory are in deep trouble.

Summary

Alligators have ears, and they can hear well. In addition to this, alligators have acute tactile senses. In the water, they can feel vibrations, and it helps them detect where the movements are coming from. 

Alligators, unlike other animals, do not have outer ears. Despite this, they could hear underwater as good as a goldfish could hear. Despite this ability, hearing is not an alligator’s primary sense when hunting for food.

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