Crested geckos do not have an external ear structure akin to most other species yet do possess reasonably good hearing. In this post, we will explore a variety of nuances related to the hearing of crested geckos in particular (as opposed to all species of geckos as a whole).
As you read through, you will realize that crested geckos do have reasonable hearing ability without being overly sensitive to a lot of sounds. Yes, loud noise can affect them – and therefore their exposure to garish din should be minimized. But when it comes to everyday sounds – including ones emitted close to the enclosure of your crested gecko, they will not have a significant impact on your pet.
In this post we will explore the overall ear structure of crested geckos in the absence of an external one. We will also look at the potentially detrimental impact that loud sounds can have on crested geckos – and the reasons for which we recommend you avoid them.
Ultimately, you will have a good, well-rounded perspective on how well DO crested geckos hear and what you can do to ensure optimal hearing for them while avoiding their exposure to high-decibel scenarios.
Table of Contents
Crested Gecko Ears
Crested geckos do not have external ears the way most other species do. Their ears are in fact the “holes” that you see just behind their eyes. Behind these “holes” though, crested geckos have a typical ear structure including:
- A cochlea,
- Stapes, as well as
- A tympanic membrane.
Therefore, besides hearing ability, their ears lend crested geckos with much-needed balance control too.
This absence of an external ear structure does not take away or hinder hearing ability in crested geckos though. It is just that they are not as sensitive to everyday sounds in the vicinity, as long as those are not too loud.
The Impact of Loud Noise on Crested Geckos
Repeated exposure to excessively loud noise can stress crested geckos. This stress can, in turn, impact your crested gecko in various ways, manifesting itself in behavior such as withdrawing from eating – or other bodily aspects including the possibility of losing its tail.
Therefore anytime you notice your crested gecko shying away from its food; even when you try a variety of different diets, perform a cross-check of whether it has been exposed to loud sounds.
Also, remember that while other gecko species can regrow their tails, the crested gecko cannot; once it is gone, it is gone for good. The tail is where your pet stores nutrients and fat for sinewy times; its absence will, of course, cause a lot of harm to it!
These are critical reasons for which you would like to minimize or negate repetitive exposure to loud noise in crested geckos.
By the way, noise is not the only factor you should think of. To keep stress to a minimum for your Crestie, we recommend reading our following articles as well:
- Why Crested geckos do not need light at night
- How often should you handle a Crested gecko?
- Do Crested geckos need UVB?
- Do Crested geckos need heat lamps?
The Ability to Pick Up Vibrations
Crested geckos can pick up vibrations fairly well. More than actual sounds, they pick up vibrations better. This is another reason we emphasize on everyday sounds around crested geckos being completely OK as long as they are not very loud.
Say for instance, you walk past your crested gecko’s enclosure, play music lightly in the same room, or have regular phone conversations in the vicinity…none of these are likely to have a detrimental impact on your crested gecko.
Remember that in its natural habitat in New Caledonia, crested geckos have been exposed to varying kinds of sounds from say thunderstorms in the rainforest, or sound emitted by other creatures; it is used to sounds being emanated around it and they do not impact it in a big way.
The tympanic membrane plays a key role in the way crested geckos pick up vibrations, especially airborne vibrations.
Surface level vibrations on the ground are in turn picked up more effectively by the quadrate. Thus, the whole hearing process in crested geckos can be summed up as follows:
1. First, you have the tympanic membrane or quadrate vibrating.
2. This leads to the extrastapes vibrating and therefore the stapes as well.
3. These vibrations are then carried forward across the middle ear cavity.
4. The next line of passage is the fluid-filled inner ear cavity that contains the immensely sensitive cochlear duct.
5. This cochlear duct has sensory clusters that transmit information about these vibrations via the auditory nerve.
The gist is that the absence of an external ear does not impact hearing ability in crested geckos. Insensitivity to everyday noises in crested geckos is independent of the absence of an external ear – or the overall hearing ability in them.
In other words, it is more of a “personality characteristic” if you will, of crested geckos, that they remain largely insensitive to regular sounds.
The Reason Crested Gecko Owners Commonly Assume Poor Hearing in their Pets
Crested gecko owners commonly assume poor hearing in their pets. A variety of scenarios allude to this assumption:
- The same sounds impact other pets more than crested geckos. Even snakes are noted to be more sensitive to many sounds than crested geckos.
- Opening or closing their enclosure often has no reaction at all from crested geckos.
- Crested geckos can even sleep through (or at least seem to sleep through) a lot of sounds.
- Often, attempts made by owners to have a conversation with their cresties evoke simply no response at all!
All these behaviors as portrayed by crested geckos compel their owners to assume poor hearing in them. That is not entirely true; it is the lack of sensitivity that is at play here as opposed to poor hearing ability.
The best example we can think of is DJs who often get indifferent to loud music over the span of their career; it is similar with crested geckos except that they are innately insensitive to a lot of common sounds, especially ones they get exposed to frequently over time.
Additionally, bear in mind that crested geckos are nocturnal creatures. So while you were having a good night’s sleep, your crestie might have been active – and then when you woke up in the daytime, its nocturnal instincts kicked in to ensure lethargy during the day.
Crested geckos DO hear well enough, especially when it comes to vibrations.
They are simply not all that sensitive to various sounds, particularly ones that they get used to hearing over time…so if you sleep and snore in the same room as your crested gecko, it is unlikely to be as affected as your partner! : )
Exposure to loud and intense sounds should be minimized or ideally avoided since they can stress up crested geckos, leading to various undesirable consequences such as not eating their food or losing their tail.
Having got a good perspective on Crestie ears you might also want to know:
What is the life expectancy of a crested gecko?
Crested geckos can live 15 to 20 years and even longer! With the increasing popularity of crested geckos among pet owners, we see many crested geckos being successfully bred in captivity for more than a decade now. Exact life expectancy would be known with time as the current lot of pet cresties ages and begins to pass away (an invariable occurrence we are not looking forward to, of course).
Do crested geckos need heat?
Crested geckos can live very well at room temperature. Therefore, most often you will not require any special heating arrangements for them. That said, the dynamics would be different if you live in a rather chilly place – or if you would like to grow plants in your crestie’s enclosure. 78 to 82 Degrees Fahrenheit is a suitable temperature range for crested geckos during the day.