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Snakes Locate Prey Through Vibration Waves

Discussion in 'The Library' started by Rich, Mar 4, 2008.

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  1. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    It is often believed that snakes cannot hear. This presumption is fed by the fact that snakes lack an outer ear and that scientific evidence of snakes responding to sound is scarce. Snakes do, however, possess an inner ear with a functional cochlea. (The inner ear structure called the cochlea is a snail-shell like structure divided into three fluid-filled parts.) Scientists now present evidence that snakes use this structure to detect minute vibrations of the sand surface that are caused by prey moving. Their ears are sensitive enough to not only "hear" the prey approaching, but also to allow the brain, i.e., the auditory system, to localize the direction it is coming from.

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  2. Rich

    Rich Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    While most of us likely knew that snakes could "hear/sense" through vibrations, I doubt many of us understood the actual methods in which their hearing works. I know that I didn't completely understand the process itself but understand a great deal more now.

    The sensory perception of slight vibrations captured through the jaw is an obvious adaptation from their surroundings. The study was conducted in sand, which is less likely (at least to me) to carry sound as fluently as a solid object would. According to the study, I would be wrong. It apparently travels faster through the sand than it would a solid object like concrete.

    I wonder though if it would travel faster over a surface you would find in the jungle. I would think that leaf litter and other debris would help enhance the sound being generated.

    Don't mind me, I am posting whats in my head. lol I found the article to be very interesting.
  3. Merlin

    Merlin Administrator Staff Member Premium Member

    In my opinion, the beleif that snakes could not hear was regarding what we would classify as sound. I think that most people recognize the fact that snakes can detect vibrations. If not they would be in a supreme disadvantage with regard to survival! Anything could come on them unawares.

    Just like the fact that deaf people cannot hear "sound" but they can "feel" vibration. They may not be able to hear you speak but they can feel the rythym enough to dance.
  4. mshrmheadcharge

    mshrmheadcharge Moderator Staff Member Premium Member

    I think its a pretty interesting article, thanks for sharing!
  5. barnkat

    barnkat Elite Member

    My two cents, all I know is my snakes like it better when I talk to them than when I don't. My jungle-carpet diamond Teal'c likes to lay on top of my radio, and has a definite difference in the music sounds he likes. He reacted like a guard dog today when the LP gas delivery truck was here, and was ffffffffing (it's a noise he makes when displeased, it's not a hiss) at the door in a guard stance. He did not like the sound of the truck filling the tank, as soon as it was gone he was fine again.
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