The lack of an obvious external ear structure in bearded dragons often makes their owners – especially newbies not very familiar with these fascinating pets, to really wonder whether bearded dragons have any ears at all.
After all, seeing is believing, isn’t it? Well, that is not quite the case at all times, as you will discover in this post. Herein, we will closely look at the overall ear structure of bearded dragons and gauge how they manage to ensure excellent hearing in spite of not having noticeable external ears the way mammals do.
Do bearded dragons have ears? Bearded dragons do have ears; just not in the form of external, visible ones. Instead, they have holes on their head for capturing sound. The inner ear structure of bearded dragons is similar to that of other species. As a result, their overall hearing ability is definitively robust.
In this post, we will look at how the absence of an external ear structure does not make a difference to the hearing prowess of bearded dragons. This is because the internal ear structure and design is similar to most other species.
Moreover, the holes (in place of external ears) in bearded dragons do an excellent job in capturing ambient sounds. So the absence of visible ears does not make a difference to the hearing ability of bearded dragons.
Location and External Appearance
The holes which are actually the ears of bearded dragons are located on their heads, going back further from their eyes.
A good rule of thumb to spot these holes is to trace the path midway between beardie’s eyes and the end corner of their mouths – as you look closely, you will clearly see the holes we are referring to here. Yes, those are your beardie’s ears.
Externally, they look like nothing more than gaping holes. If you weren’t aware of these holes being ears, you could quite possibly misidentify them as “injuries” sustained by your poor beardy!
It is only when you look a little more closely that you notice what comes across as a sheer membrane appending over these holes. This is actually nothing but the tympanic membrane; an ear component which many of us are familiar with – and all of us duly possess!
Internally, the ear structure of bearded dragons is pretty much the same as what you would see in just about any other species, mammals included.
For instance, the tympanic membrane that we referred to above essentially corresponds to the middle ear structure. As and when sound waves are perceived by the tympanic membrane, it vibrates, thus sending out a message to subsequent components of the inner ear.
The primary component in the question above would be the stirrup, a tiny bone which is also referred to as the stapes. Like the tympanic membrane, the stirrup is also a part of the middle ear structure. It is to this stirrup that sound waves as picked up by the tympanic membrane are transmitted to.
From the stirrup, sound waves are in turn transmitted to the fluid-filled cochlear duct. This is especially known to have minute hair-like objects called cilia that are excellent in picking up any kind of vibrations.
Past the cilia, you have sound waves being relayed straight to the brain via the auditory nerve.
So, in essence, as you can easily note, beyond the absentia of external ears, the inner ear structure of bearded dragons is pretty much the same as what we see in mammals (like us!) and most other species in general.
Your biology lessons might remind you of the fact that ears have functions beyond hearing alone. In particular, our ability to ensure balance comes from our ears.
This is true about bearded dragons as well. Like us, beardies have semicircular canals in their ears that do a brilliant job in ensuring that balance is maintained at all times.
This fact further strengthens our assertion about the presence of ears in bearded dragons. At the risk of repeating ad nauseam, all that is different is the absence of a visible external ear structure.
Otherwise, from the inside, the form, as well as the functionality, is just the same as ears in just about all other species.
With the presence (and appearance!) of ears in bearded dragons firmly established, the next obvious question that many pet owners have is about cleaning beardie’s ears.
Our experience in this matter tells us that any human interference/activity on this front should be minimal. Yes, you are quite likely to see foreign objects get into the ears of bearded dragons, especially given their design as holes without any external coverage.
Yet, even in their natural habitat, bearded dragons are actually quite used to items unwittingly getting into their ears. After all, beardies are native to the Australian woodlands where sand and dirt, in particular, does tend to get into their ears.
Somehow, the natural defense mechanism in bearded dragons ensures that the entry of such foreign objects does not do any damage; their potential harm is thwarted well in time.
Therefore, it is especially advised that you avoid making attempts at cleaning your beardie’s ears, especially with items such as earbuds that are particularly forbidden since they can actually end up causing damage to your beardie’s ears.
Instead, anytime you feel significantly concerned about items that may have got into your beardie’s ears, you can take it to the vet who can then proceed with the right remedial course of action.
Well, believe it or not, the absence of an external ear structure in bearded dragons has added significantly to what many pet owners refer to as the “cuteness quotient” of their pets.
As a matter of fact, among the many aspects cited by them for choosing bearded dragons in particular as their choice of pets, which included:
- Ease of maintenance
- Wide availability
- Friendly disposition
- Bearded presence
was the cuteness quotient, accentuated by the absence of external ears. These same owners especially emphasized on the fact that if beardies had ears the way we humans and many other species do, the overall appeal would just not be the same.
Bearded dragons certainly DO have ears. It is merely their appearance which is different, marked by the absence of an external ear structure.
Otherwise, from the inside, the ears of bearded dragons are really no different to what we see and know about in practically all other species, mammals like us included.
Now that you have a good knowhow on the ears of bearded dragons, you might also want to know:
Do bearded dragons have good eyesight? Bearded dragons have excellent eyesight, with clear ability to discern the entire spectrum of colors. Moreover, the location of their eyes – more to the sides of their heads, gives them a significantly wider field of vision as compared to a lot of other animal species.
Bearded dragons even have three eyes! Did you know that? Read more on that here!
Can bearded dragons hurt you? Bearded dragons are among the most docile creatures around and can rarely. if ever, cause any harm. However, there are situations where irresponsible handling can lead to agitation and possible biting behavior in beardies. Even then, this is non-toxic so simply washing away would do.