How Do Geckos Hear So Well? Understanding Gecko Hearing and Communication.

Unlike humans and other mammals, geckos do not have external ears. Instead, their eardrums are located beneath a thin layer of skin on either side of the head. This skin is called the tympanic membrane and is responsible for collecting sound waves.

The Middle Ear

Once sound waves are collected by the tympanic membrane, they are transmitted to the middle ear. Geckos have a small air-filled cavity in their head called the middle ear. The middle ear contains three small bones called the columella, which transfer the sound vibrations to the inner ear.

The Inner Ear

The inner ear is responsible for processing the sound vibrations and sending signals to the brain. Geckos have a unique inner ear structure called the basilar papilla, which is responsible for detecting and processing sound.

Gecko Hearing Mechanisms

Now that we understand the anatomy and physiology of gecko hearing, let’s take a closer look at the mechanisms involved.

The Tympanic Membrane

As mentioned earlier, the tympanic membrane is responsible for collecting sound waves. It is thin and flexible, allowing it to vibrate in response to sound waves.

The Basilar Papilla

The basilar papilla is a long, thin structure located in the inner ear of geckos. It is responsible for detecting and processing sound vibrations. Unlike most other reptiles, geckos have a single basilar papilla, which is thought to contribute to their excellent hearing abilities.

Gecko Communication

Geckos use a variety of methods to communicate with each other.


Some species of geckos are known to make vocalizations, such as chirps, clicks, and barks. These sounds are produced by the gecko’s larynx and are used for a variety of purposes, including attracting mates, defending territory, and warning off predators.

Non-vocal Communication

Geckos also use a variety of non-vocal communication methods, such as body language and pheromones. For example, some species of geckos will change the color of their skin or display certain behaviors to communicate with each other.

Gecko Hearing in the Wild

Geckos’ hearing abilities are essential for survival in the wild.

Prey Detection

Geckos are nocturnal hunters and rely on their hearing abilities to detect prey. They can hear the sounds of small insects and other prey from several meters away.

Predator Avoidance

Geckos are also prey to many predators, so their hearing abilities are crucial for detecting and avoiding danger. They can hear the sounds of predators, such as snakes and birds of prey, and quickly move to safety.

Gecko Hearing in Captivity

Geckos’ hearing abilities are also important in captivity.

Implications for Captive Care

Captive geckos require a quiet and stress-free environment to thrive. Loud noises and sudden movements can cause stress and even harm their hearing abilities.

Behavioral and Environmental Enrichment

Providing behavioral and environmental enrichment can help keep captive geckos healthy and happy. This includes providing hiding places, climbing structures, and other forms of stimulation that mimic their natural habitat.


Geckos have impressive hearing abilities that are essential for survival in the wild and in captivity. By understanding their anatomy and physiology, hearing mechanisms, communication methods, and the implications of their hearing abilities, we can better care for and appreciate these fascinating creatures.

ThePetFaq Team