Snakes make a range of sounds from hissing to growling. Different snakes have different capabilities, and some can even shriek.
Studies show that reptiles use different sound mechanisms, and they occur in various species. Most of these sounds are used to deter predators, not to attract prey.
What Common Sounds do Snakes Make?
There are several sounds that snakes make. One scientist spent years understanding these sounds and found that there are several unique ones.
|1.||Hissing||The hissing of a snake comes from the sound of air passing through the tube in their throat.|
|2.||Growling||Snakes can growl, and the most common one that does this is the cobra. A cobra that feels threatened will stand on its tail and growl. The growl is not the same as that of a lion or a dog, but it is a little close.|
|3.||Shrieking||Snakes can shriek, and the sound that it makes is like a strong wind. This behavior typically happens in the pine snake because it has a vocal cord.|
|4.||Farting||Snakes can pass air through their cloaca, where they also produce musk. They produce popping sounds that are like a fart. They force air out, and it is so close to what human fart sounds like. Snake fart is called cloacal popping.|
|5.||Rattling||The rattlesnake makes a rattle sound from its tail.|
|6.||Squeaking||Some pythons appear to squeak, but this is often when they have a respiratory infection.|
Snake Hissing Sound
Snake Rattling Sound
Of course, there is the hissing sound that all people know about.
This sound is made through a tube in the snake’s mouth. They use this tube for breathing as they swallow their prey whole. But this tube is also used to produce sounds. This organ is called the glottis. Snakes force air to go out through it, and it is the sound it makes is the hiss.
Some snakes also have special equipment on their bodies to make sounds.
The rattlesnake shakes its tail to make a rattling noise. Vipers that have rattles make this sound to warn a predator that it is stressed. If the predator does not move away, the snake is going to attack.
Do Snakes make a Sound with the Tongue?
This is a misconception about a snake’s tongue. No, snakes do not make a sound with their tongue. Snakes use their tongues to smell but not to make a sound.
The sound comes from their glottis, and it just so happens that they are also flicking their tongues when they make a hissing sound.
How Does the Snake Rattle make a Sound?
The rattle of a rattlesnake is made of keratin. It is a hard kind of protein. Hair, feathers, and shells are made of keratin.
Each part of the rattle is loosely interlocked. It is this looseness that allows the rattlesnake to make a sound. Since the parts are loose, they hit each other, and this bumping is what makes the sound.
Rattlesnakes have powerful muscles to move the rattle. Snakes can shake their rattles between 50 and 100 times per second.
There is nothing inside the rattle of a snake. If one would take the time to open it, there are no small pieces stuck in there. It is the loose connection of the rattles that make the sound.
Do Snakes Wail?
However, the fluid that they produce happen behind the lenses of their retinas. The fluid gets drained into the roof of the mouth. Also, a snake’s spectacles are attached to the skin. Because of this biological condition, the snake cannot cry. The tears they make cannot pass through the eye.
While snakes can shriek, they do not shriek if they are in pain. They hiss and make sounds when they are in danger.
Do Snakes have a Voice Box to make Sounds?
Snakes have a larynx. However, the larynx is small, and it does not have vocal cords. As such, the sound that they produce is limited to hissing and growling.
Studies indicate that pine, gopher, and the bull snake can make two different defensive sounds. They have the ability to modulate and amplify their hiss.
The pine has an unusual larynx, but it plays a small role in sound amplification. The larynx of the gopher snake is in itself a vocal cord, and removing it can alter the sound that it makes.
Is it Normal for Snakes to make a Squeaking Sound?
Snakes do not squeak. However, many python owners attest that their pets made squeaking sounds. If a snake squeaks, it is an indication that the python is suffering from an infection.
The infection is likely respiratory. The respiratory system of the snake is made of the lungs, throat, and nose. Also, the infection could be viral, bacterial, or fungal. Like all animals, an infection can cause aggravation, and the snake can die.
Do Snakes make Sounds to Communicate?
Yes and no. Yes, because they produce sound to scare off predators, even fellow snakes. No, because there is no scientific evidence that their communication is any more complex than this.
Many believe that snakes are deaf. But this study shows that they are not. Snakes are sensitive to airborne and ground vibrations. What this means is that they can hear.
Amazingly, snakes can hear sounds from their body surface. This ability is called somatic hearing. They can also hear from their inner ears.
What snakes can hear is still unknown. However, there are experiments showing that snakes respond if they sense vibrations in the air and on the ground.
Little information is known whether snakes can “talk” to each other. Scientists, however, have a hypothesis that they could. The reasoning behind this is that snakes have dual auditory pathways. There is also a wide diversity in snakes that communication may be possible.
Snakes make a range different sounds. Some hiss, some growl, and some fart. Not all snakes can produce the same sounds. Most large snakes can growl, especially the cobra. Pythons typically hiss, and rattlesnakes make noise with their rattles.
Snakes are quiet animals. They do not make a sound unless they see or feel a threat. If a snake is making squeaking noises despite the absence of a predator, it is likely that that it is suffering from an infection.