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Ears of Animals: What are the Different Types?

By Puja RoyOctober 27, 2022
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Learn About Animal Ears and the Science Behind Them

Animal ears come in all different shapes and sizes for sure. Some of them are big, and some of them are pretty small. Some tend to stand upright while others are just floppy. Some animals don’t even have ears. So, there is no doubt that the ears of animals have varying sizes and shapes. But the main question here is whether this has an effect on the hearing ability of the animal. Does the shape of the ear have any possible benefit? In this article, we are going to talk about it in detail. 

Different Animal Ear Shapes

Different Animal Ear Shapes

The reason why animals have different shapes and sizes of ears is that they have adapted to their surroundings in different ways. Before diving into the world of animal ears, let us talk about the science behind the hearing sense.

Understand the Science Behind Animal Ears 

For humans as well as animals, ears are extraordinary organs that help in hearing. These organs tend to pick up different vibrations from around us and properly translate them into a particular form that is effectively perceivable by the brain using a mechanical process. When there is any production of noise, sound waves are created.

Then these sound waves are converted into pressure waves that travel through a particular medium, whether air or water. These waves then end up entering the ear canals. The ear canals will properly translate the pressure waves into different nerve signals. The nerve signals are then sent to the brain in order to process the information. So, this is how the process of hearing works in different animals with ears

What are the Different Types of Ears of Animals? 

Looking at animal ears pictures, it can be easily said that there are different shapes and sizes of them. From the smallest insects that live on the planet to the biggest mammals that roam around the earth, every single one of them has ears. However, the only thing here is that most animals have a difference in the shape and size of their ears for sure. The shape of the ear is actually an adaptation of the animal to its surrounding. 

So, why do animals have different shapes of ears?  Let us talk about that in detail.

1. Forward-Facing Ears 

Why do you think that even the slightest noise or distant sound of the doorbell alerts your dog? That is due to the sense of hearing that it has. Most dogs, wild cats, tigers, leopards, lions, and other animals who are predators tend to have a very keen hearing sense. This sense of hearing is what helps them properly hunt for their prey in the best way. The predatory animals have forward-facing ears that help them completely focus on the prey and pursue it. 

2. Movable Ears 

Mostly the animals that prey, such as rabbits, tend to have long ears that can move independently and rotate as well. This is actually a pretty good thing because it can help them pick up sounds from any particular direction. So, these animals are always aware if there is any danger approaching them from a particular direction. Did you know that the ears of rabbits actually have another cooling function? Well, yes, the ears in rabbits also help in regulating their body temperature by catching the cool breezes. This then helps them in colling their bodies as well. 

3. Sharp Ears

Some nocturnal animals always tend to hunt or mate during the night. It can be said that they are most active during the nighttime. Hence, these animals tend to have large ears that are pretty sharp. Some animals, such as bats, tend to have ears that are often bigger than their heads. The main reason for that is they tend to rely completely on sound ways for their navigation. Some animals that have extrasensory adaptation are also able to use the technique of echolocation in order to navigate properly while hunting for their food. 

4. Invisible Ears 

Can you believe that some animals don’t have ears that are visible? Well, let us take the example of fish. Did you ever notice that hearing underwater for humans is next to impossible? Well, it is due to the fact that our ears aren’t really adapted for breathing underwater. On the other hand, marine animals tend to lack the outer ears that we have. Instead, their ears are invisible. 

Since these animals don’t have any external ears, it becomes much easier for them to properly avoid any drag noises which can be created when swimming under the water. Birds also have the same mechanism for hearing since they need to avoid the dragging noise that comes from flying in the air. However, it can be said that birds, fishes and other sea animals tend to have an amazing sense of hearing. 

5. Big Ears 

Animals that live in hot summer climates tend to have big ears. These animals include elephants, fennec foxes, and some other desert animals. The reason why their ears are big is that they can stay cool in hot weather. Blood properly travels through the blood vessels of the ears of these animals and hence releases heat into the air. This process is extremely crucial in cooling their bodies in extreme heat. 

6. Small Ears

Animals that live in colder regions tend to have small ears. They include polar bears, arctic foxes, and other such animals. Another interesting thing to notice is that most animals have their ears covered in fur. These small ears help minimise the heat loss in the body. The small-sized ears covered in fur will help in reducing the exposure of the skin to the temperature.


So, what do you think about the animal ears and their different shapes? Ears serve many purposes for animals and humans alike and hence are really important organs. So, on that note, can you tell us the name of ten animals whose ears can be seen? Think about it and let us know your answer.