The answer is yes; bearded dragons have ears. It’s just that they’re not protruding like those of other animals like dogs and cats. Unlike mammals, reptiles don’t have the external structure to collect sound. They lack outer lobes that are present in mammals. However, this doesn’t mean that these creatures don’t have ears.
Bearded dragon ears look like holes and are invisible unless you carefully inspect your beardie from a close distance. The ears still boast an inner ear structure similar to other species and are highly functional. Even without the external ear structure, bearded dragons have superior hearing prowess. The creatures can effectively capture ambient sound.
The only difference between the human ear and the bearded dragon ear, besides the lack of an external lobe, is that the former captures sound from a far distance.
Where Are the Bearded Dragon Ears Located?
The bearded dragon’s ears look like gaping holes on the head. You can find the ears by following a midway path between the eyes and the corner of the beardie’s mouth. As you move back towards the neck, you’ll see two holes, which might look like the beardie is injured.
However, if you take a keen look into the holes, you’ll discover that there’s a thin membrane appending them. This is known as the tympanic membrane, a component that helps bearded dragons hear. In some lizards, such as the Iguana, the tympanic membrane is near the surface and thus highly susceptible to damage.
The ears occupy the midway space between the bearded dragon’s eye and the neck area. Their positioning allows them to pick and retain sound and remain safe from external damage.
How Bearded Dragon Ears Work?
Contrary to popular belief, Bearded Dragon ears work just like human or dog ears.
External Ear Structures
Of course, we have already mentioned that the bearded dragon ears don’t have any external lobe or appendages. However, the creatures boast two cavities on either side of the head. The small holes provide a passage for sound and vibrations.
From the outside, bearded dragons’ ears look more like perforations. However, once you peep inside, you can see the tympanic membrane stretched over the opening. This thin membrane is what is referred to as the eardrum in humans.
The lack of an external ears structure doesn’t affect how beardies perceive and interpret sounds. They’re said to have a great sense of hearing than all the other lizards.
Bearded Dragon’s Internal Ear Structure
Despite bearded dragon ears looking very different from those of other animals on the outside, their internal structure works in the same principle as in all animals.
The internal system starts with the tympanic membrane. This part of the ear is the first to receive sound waves. Once the tympanic membrane is hit by sound, it vibrates, relaying a message to other parts of the ear.
Bearded dragon ears also feature a tiny bone in the middle ear structure, known as the stirrup or stapes. Its function is to pick sound waves sent from the tympanic membrane. After receiving the sound waves, the stirrup transfers them into the fluid-filled cochlea duct.
Within the fluid is a hair-like structure known as the cilia. The cilia collect sound vibrations in the fluid-filled cochlear duct and direct them to the brain via the auditory nerve. Once the sound waves reach the brain, there are interpreted, and corrective action is taken.
If you’re conversant with the anatomy of the mammalian ear, you would recognize that it operates similarly to the bearded dragon’s ear.
3 Essential Roles of the Bearded Dragon Ears
Bearded dragon ears play various crucial functions in the bearded dragon’s life.
Bearded dragons in captivity have the luxury of getting surplus feeder insects delivered to them.
However, their counterparts in the wild don’t have that privilege. Although wild beardies have a buffet of insects at their disposal, they have to hunt them down.
Improved hearing allows them to locate insects quickly and munch them. When insects are laying low but still making noise, bearded dragons use their sense of hearing to trace and find insects in their hiding spots.
Without solid hearing capability, bearded dragons in areas with scarce bugs and insects would starve for days.
Bearded dragons rely on their superb sense of smell to evade predators. Wild bearded dragons are at constant risk of being turned into food by various predators. They have to navigate their natural habitats carefully, taking note of any animal that poses a danger.
Their sharp hearing comes in handy as it allows bearded dragon hear sounds and vibrations that may indicate the presence of a predator.
Along with other valuable tools, hearing helps bearded dragons avoid being turned into snacks by birds, foxes, and even snakes.
Like most mammals, the inner part of the bearded dragon’s ear features a vestibular system that helps maintain a sense of balance. Inside the bearded dragon’s ear are the cochlea duct and semicircular canals that aid in maintaining balance.
Bearded Dragons’ habitats are riddled with various items, such as branches and rocks, which require them to have excellent balance.
If their body balance is compromised, they may fall and suffer broken bones and injuries. So, if you notice that your beardie has a problem with body balance, you’ll need to call your vet.
Do Bearded Dragons Have Wax in Their Ears?
Unlike mammals with an external ear structure, beardies have ears that look like holes. For this reason, they don’t need wax as there is no cavity to clean. Their ears have a self-cleaning mechanism that helps get rid of foreign objects.
Most people think that the thin membrane seen when you gaze into the bearded dragon’s ears is the wax. But that’s further from the truth as the membrane is part and parcel of the internal ear structure.
Should I Clean or Pull Sheds Stuck in a Bearded Dragon’s Ear?
As a dedicated and concerned bearded dragon owner, you might be wondering whether you should spare time to clean the lizard’s ears.
Reptile experts warn against human interference with a bearded dragon’s ears. If you see items get into the beardies’ ears, mainly due to the lack of an external lobe, don’t try to clean or pull these objects out.
Imagine these creatures have been surviving in the Australian woodlands and deserts where sand and dirt are everywhere. This means that bearded dragons have gotten used to foreign items getting into their ears.
And somehow, these lizards have a self-cleaning mechanism that ensures that even if these objects get into the ear, they’ll get out without causing any damage.
Therefore, you should never try to clean or remove objects from the bearded dragon’s ear. You’ll most likely destroy the tympanic membrane, causing significant damage and severe pain. Destroying the tympanic membrane can end up making your bearded dragon deaf.
The membrane helps prevent bacteria, pathogens, parasites, and fungi from getting into the ear. And as we all know, the ear connects to the brain. It would be exposed to infections if the tympanic membrane was damaged.
If you feel concerned about your bearded dragon ears, the right decision is to schedule an appointment with a reptile vet. Leveraging their extensive knowledge and experience, vets will advise and provide you with the right course of action.
Should You Talk With Your Bearded Dragons?
Bearded dragon owners should make it a habit to try and talk to their pets. According to research, beardies can hear and respond to sound. These lizards use body language to respond to sounds from other animals.
A bearded dragon can respond to sound by puffing up its beard, changing the beard’s color, hiding, or pointing its tail out. Adult bearded dragons are more capable of responding to sound. Bearded dragons may display various signs when a sound makes them feel threatened and or happy.
Therefore, as part of establishing a great rapport with your bearded dragon, you should try to talk to it as much as possible.
Can Bearded Dragons Learn To Be Called By Name?
Yes, bearded dragons can learn the sound or their name and be trained to come to you when you call them. Training a bearded dragon to come to you is an invaluable skill that can come in handy if they get lost outside the cage. You can call them out if they know their name, and they’ll resurface.
Some beardies will take longer to respond to sounds and learn their names, but they’ll get there with effort and determination. If you doubt that beardies can react to being called by name, several videos on the internet act as proof.
Do Bearded Dragons Love Music?
Many bearded dragon owners claim that beardies love specific genres of music. The creatures usually change their behavior when you play certain kinds of music. Some pet owners report that some tunes make their bearded dragons settle down, while others make them raise their head and cock it to one side.
Although there is no concrete evidence to back the notion that beardies enjoy music, these lizards can hear and respond to sound. This means that they can also get accustomed to relishing musical tunes.
Perhaps the reaction to music may be due to the high sensitivity to vibration and sound, but the main point is that they seem to love when certain types of music are played.
Bearded dragon Ear Infections
In the same way that other pets, such as cats and dogs, suffer from ear infections, so do bearded dragons. Often, ear infections in reptiles are caused by bacteria or fungi. They may predispose mild to severe symptoms.
Symptoms That May Indicate an Ear infection
If your bearded dragon starts displaying any of these signs, it might be suffering from ear infections.
- Hearing loss
- A swollen tympanic membrane, brown or black spots on the ear
- Loss of balance
- Discharge from the ears
- Head tilting
Factors that May Contribute to Ear Infection in Bearded Dragons
Bearded dragons need to soak up UV rays to stay strong and healthy. If a beardie’s enclosure has a lower than average temperature, they may contract various diseases, including metabolic bone disease, tail rot, and even ear infection. Basking area temperatures should be maintained between 88ºF and 100ºF, and the cooler zone temperatures should range from 75ºF to 85ºF.
High humidity has been associated with an increase in infections rate. A bearded dragon’s enclosure should have 20% and 40% humidity.
Did you know that bearded dragons shed even the skin around the ears? Now you know! If the humidity in the enclosure is not appropriate, the skin might get stuck around the ear region, causing discomfort and possible infection.
You should maintain the correct moisture level and give your pet a warm bath when struggling to shed its skin, especially around the ear.
A balanced diet ensures that your bearded dragon stays healthy. If your beardie isn’t getting a proper diet, it can result in a weak immune system, making fighting off infection challenging.