Ball Pythons Hear Sound? (Deafness checked out)

Ball pythons are a very docile breed of snakes; hence, good as a pet for snake lovers. When you spend time with your pet, you may want to talk to it and can be worried whether, with their bodies full of scale, they have an ear and can be able to hear you, or whether your household noise disrupts their peace. We understand that it is a matter of concern.

So, can ball pythons hear sound? Despite not having visible ears, ball pythons can still hear low pitched sounds within a limited range. Their sound detection is different from human beings such that, while humans use the ears, ball pythons use their lower jaw to pick up vibrations. It is a common myth that snakes are deaf. While it may seem true to most people through observations, this is not the case.

If you like talking to your ball python pet and are interested to know whether they can hear you, this is the ultimate guide for you. We help you understand if they are deaf, whether they can hear you talk and whether they have sensitive hearing. Read through the rest of the guide to find answers to all your questions.

As you relate and bond with your ball python, you may become attached to them and share secrets with them or just let them know that you love them by verbalizing it. Your pet may then respond with a movement to show you they are in agreement.

Ball pythons, just like other reptiles, have two ears behind their eyes that comprise all the features necessary to make them perceive sound. However, these ears are not external and are referred to as auricles, pinnae, or ear flaps. Also, unlike other animals, the ball python ears are air-filled rather than fluid-filled. These ears are also prone to infection, and you should visit the vet if you suspect your snake has an ear infection.

The ball python ears exist as small holes on both sides of their head. Their ear structure, unlike other animals, lacks the eardrum and middle ear. They have a quadrate bone in their jaws that responds to vibration by moving slightly as the ball python slithers on the ground to aid in hearing. This movement is then transported to the inner ear, which translates the movements to signals. The inner ear then sends these signals to the brain for interpretation as sound.

Initially, the argument was that the quadrate bone enables ball pythons to detect vibrations from the ground only, however, research shows that this bone also helps them detect airborne vibrations. This way, they are also able to sense their predator as they approach. The right and left side jaws of a ball python function independently, unlike other animals.

This is an added advantage to their hearing as they can detect the vibrations’ direction; hence, the sound direction. Therefore, given that ball pythons have an ear structure, they can hear low pitch sound; thus, not deaf as the popular myth suggests.

Can Ball Pythons Hear You Talk?

Given that ball pythons are not deaf, the next thing you may want to know is what sounds they can hear. As a pet owner, knowing that your ball python can hear you will make you want to spend more time with it for companionship.

Ball pythons, unlike human beings, cannot hear sounds in different variations. Instead, they detect the sound waves in the air and on the ground and respond to these vibrations. Therefore, this implies that when you speak to your ball python, they will be able to hear the vibrations in your voice.

Ball pythons can hear low-frequency ground and airborne vibrations through their inner ears. How high or low a sound is, also called pitch, is measured in Hertz (Hz). This is what researchers use to determine the snakes’ ability to hear. Studies show that the ball python can detect sound frequencies between 50 to 1000 hertz.

This is lower compared to human sensitivity, which is between 20 to 20000 hertz. However, the human voice has a pitch of 250 Hertz on average, making it possible for ball pythons to detect a margin of vibration of the human voice.

Besides hearing, ball pythons will also respond better to deep voices due to their higher vibration than the high voices. However, this does not imply that they cannot hear you if you have a sharp voice. The fact that ball pythons can detect sound frequencies supports snake owners’ claims that their pets can hear them when they call them out.

While many snake breeds have been known to understand hearing, it is safe to state that this hearing may also vary depending on the environment. Thus, while ball pythons lack standard hearing tools like other animals do, they still can hear you talk.

Do Ball Pythons Have Sensitive Hearing?

Ball pythons are not deaf, and they can even hear us talk, given their sensitivity to vibrations. However, their hearing is not limited to the human voice as they can hear some noises from their surroundings to a certain degree.

Ball pythons are good at detecting sound vibrations. This means that apart from your voice, they will hear your television, your drums, dog barking, or even your vacuum cleaner at work. Deep vibrations, however, can bother a ball python, given their high dependence on vibrations to hear. They will also not hear high pitched sounds such as screams or a baby’s cry. However, if someone nearby shouts, they will hear them.

Given their sensitivity to sound, you should note that excessive noise will stress your ball python and make them think that danger is approaching. Stress due to sound usually causes a behavioral change in snakes.

They may start rubbing their nose against their enclosure wall or rattle their tail. They may also hiss to warn you about the disturbing noise. In other cases, they may respond by striking at the person making excessive noises around them.

Loud noise can also cause health problems to ball pythons. The noise causes body reactions and can shock their body, making them slither away and go to the wild. Among the things to check for to know if loud sound irritates your ball python will include changes in their urates and feces, changes in eating habits, and whether they are becoming more sluggish than usual. If you detect any changes, then a visit to the vet may be necessary. It will also help if you keep your ball python away from loud noise to prevent stress.

While too much noise may irritate your ball python, they may not exhibit such aggressive reactions as other breeds of snakes, and you, therefore, do not need to worry as much. Loud music will also not damage their hearing. However, if you are worried, you can avoid loud and deep voices, which cause too much vibration to prevent stressing your ball python.


As a snake owner, you can now rest assured that your ball python can hear you and can comfortably bond with them through conversations. While doing this, you should remember that ball pythons only make sense of the noises they hear, unlike humans.

Also, since they have a lower hearing, they may not be as effective in responding to predators, and you should keep them in a safe space in your home. The next time you are around your ball python, why not talk to it a little bit as you caress it? It may understand you.

Bal Kang

Bal Kang is an owner of several pets including reptiles, cats and dogs. An avid writer, who loves to share her insights into caring for pets.

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