How Do Lizards Hear?

Have you tried looking for ears on your pet lizard?

Do you wonder if your lizard can hear you talking to them?

Even though they don’t have ear flaps as we humans do, lizards hear noises around them.

But you might be wondering:

How do lizards hear?

Lizards have a tympanic membrane located in pits just behind their heads. Sound waves cause the tympanic membrane to vibrate. The vibrations then travel to the stapes, where fluid in the inner ear activates cells triggering the sense of hearing.

Keep reading to learn even more about how lizards hear noises in their environment. 

how do lizards hear

How Do Lizards Hear?

When you read about how to tame certain lizards and get them used to your home, many articles will tell you to talk to your lizard to get them used to your voice.

It might sound strange, mostly because lizards don’t have ears like ours or other mammals. 

The lack of external flaps may lead you to believe lizards don’t hear, but this would be a false assumption.

Lizards can hear, and the process starts with visible ear openings they use to catch the sound.

The eardrums of the lizard are located below the surface of their skin.

The tympanic membrane picks up sound waves.

The vibrations from the tympanic membrane then travel to the stapes where fluid in the inner ear activates the cells telling the animal there was a noise.

There are some variations to the hearing process between different species of lizards.

For the most part, lizards don’t hear nearly as well as we do, but they have better hearing than other animals, like snakes, for example.

Unlike lizards, snakes don’t have an opening or a tympanic membrane at all, severely limiting their ability to hear.

Though they hear better than other reptiles, most lizards cannot focus on where a sound is coming from, even though they can listen to it. 

Why Is Hearing Important For Lizards?

Like many animals, hearing is essential for lizards and their survival.

Leopard geckos, for example, have a sensitive hearing to help them in their natural habitat.

Their hearing helps keep them safe, alerting them to predators in the area.

Hearing is an early alert system, notifying them of the potential threat and giving them time to escape. 

Additionally, their ability to hear helps them to track down their prey. 

In the wild, a sense of hearing is vital to survival, both avoiding becoming someone’s meal and getting their food. 

This sense isn’t as crucial to lizards who are in captivity. 

There are no predators in their enclosures to be on alert for, and the animals don’t have to work to find their food, but hearing is still valuable. 

Bonding With Your Lizard

We touched on it a little bit earlier in this article, but a lizard’s ability to hear is a great tool when working on bonding and building trust with the animal.

If you are a new lizard owner, you will find many articles saying to talk to your new pet when you first bring it into your home.

These animals are adjusting to their new environment, so you shouldn’t handle them right away. 

You will be able to interact with them by talking to them.

They will begin to identify your voice; the more you speak to them. 

Talking to the animal, though you might feel silly, is a great way to start building a trusting relationship.

As you continue to work on building trust through feedings and handling sessions, your lizard will begin to associate your voice with good things.

This is the goal anyway.

Trust is easily lost with lizards, and loud noises hurt your chances of building trust.

These loud noises often get attached to you in the mind of the lizard and make them scared to be in your presence.

Watch if you are doing or having any housework done, like hammering, or a tree being cut down. 

Another example of this is loud, blasting music.

Loud noises like these may shake items around them, or just the screeching, intense sounds will make the lizard afraid.

Picking up the lizard for a handling session when or just after those sounds are present means you are running the risk of your lizard associating them with you.

When the animal doesn’t trust you, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to hold them, feed them, or allow them to feel safe in your presence. 

This will all lead to stress on the animal.

Stress creates so many more problems for your pet, from sickness to an early death.

As a pet owner, you will want to create an environment where the animal feels safe and trusts you, so avoid these loud noises as much as possible. 

Communicating With Other Lizards

Hearing is vital to lizards, but they aren’t always just listening for predators and prey.

Making noise and listening is part of how lizards communicate with other lizards.

Geckos are very chatty creatures, making chirps and clicks to display for other members of their species.

While sometimes these clicks are used to get another gecko away from their territory, geckos also make noises as they put on a display for a potential mate.

Male geckos often put out a loud and persistent mating call to attract a female. 

These females are listening for his call, and they are alerted to a nearby male they could mate with. 


After reading this article, we hope you now have a better understanding of how lizards hear and why it is so important whether they are in the wild or captivity. 

While other reptiles do not have the keenest sense of hearing, lizards do.

Their ability to hear helps them stay out of harm’s way and is also a tool a lizard will use when hunting for their dinner.

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