Top 7 Examples of Animals With Small Ears (Shown In 2024)

Last updated on March 7th, 2024 at 05:26 pm

Are you curious about animals with small ears? While some animals have large, floppy ears that are a defining feature, others have small, almost unnoticeable ears. These animals have adapted to their environment and lifestyle, and their small ears serve a specific purpose.

For example, beavers are semi-aquatic animals that spend much time in the water. Their small ears help them to swim more efficiently by reducing drag. The same can be said for otters, which have small ears that are covered with fur to keep them warm in cold water. The sense of hearing is one of the most important survival features not only for humans but for animals as well.

Here we will discuss the latter. So, let’s meet our seven small-eared animals.

7 Animals With Small Ears

1. Polar Bears

Polar Bears is standing on top of the ice
  • Scientific Name: Ursus maritimus
  • Diet: Carnivore

Polar bears, the largest carnivores on land, inhabit the Arctic Circle and surrounding areas of the Arctic Ocean. Their fur, appearing white, is translucent, covering black skin. Small ears help them conserve heat in their frigid environment. While their hearing is comparable to humans, they rely more on their sense of smell. Despite this, they excel at hunting seals, which produce sounds below 2,000 Hz, showcasing their adaptability in capturing prey.

Do you know: Polar bears have small, fur-covered ears and sensitive hearing. Their ears are protected from cold with fur even inside. When diving, their ear canals close. They possess an exceptional sense of smell, enabling them to locate seals up to 40 miles away.

2. Arctic Foxes

Arctic Foxes is sitting on the snow
  • Scientific Name: Vulpes lagopus
  • Diet: Carnivore

Ever pondered if foxes could be cute? Look no further than the Arctic fox! These white creatures, also called polar or snow foxes, inhabit the Arctic. Their thick fur insulates against the cold.

Small ears aid in maintaining body temperature by retaining heat. With keen senses of hearing and smell, they track prey beneath the snow.

Arctic fox feet are like snow boots, with a furry layer for insulation in their snowy habitat.

Their fur color changes seasonally, from white to brown or blueish-grey. Shedding dark fur for whites in winter helps them blend in with the snow, camouflaging and protecting against predators.

Do you know: Arctic foxes have an incredible sense of smell, capable of detecting a seal den from a mile away. Their dens are passed down through generations, with some being as old as 300 years.

3. Scottish Fold Cats

Scottish Fold Cats is standing on top of the wood
  • Scientific Name: Felis catus (domestic cat)
  • Diet: Carnivore

The Scottish Fold is a cat breed known for its unique folded ears, caused by a dominant-gene mutation affecting its cartilage. This distinctive feature gives the cat an owl-like appearance, adding to its adorable charm.

The breed originated in Scotland, with the first Scottish Fold named “Susie” discovered on a farm in 1961. Susie is considered the ancestor of all Scottish Folds, which are now popular domestic pets known for their affectionate nature.

Scottish Folds have short, round bodies and are often observed sitting in a posture referred to as “the Buddha sit” by their owners. This breed has gained popularity not only for its cute appearance but also for its friendly temperament, particularly enjoying the company of children.

Do you know: Would it surprise you to know that Scottish Fold cats are not born with folded ears? All Scottish Fold kittens are born with typical straight ears which may begin to flop over around three to four weeks of age.

READ ALSO: Quiet Animals

4. Otters

Animals With Small Ears
  • Scientific Name: Lutrinae
  • Diet: Carnivore

Otters, those adorable mammals, are found on every continent except Antarctica. With 13 different species, they range from semi-aquatic to marine. These carnivores are skilled swimmers, primarily dining on fish.

Despite their small ears, otters have excellent hearing both on land and underwater. When submerged, their ears close to keep water out.

In addition to their keen hearing, otters have a well-developed sense of smell. However, hearing takes precedence in detecting danger, according to biologists.

Their sharp senses aren’t just for defense—they’re crucial for hunting too. Otters spend up to five hours a day hunting, showcasing their skill and adaptability.

Do you know: The widest confirmed hearing range measured for sea otters was 0.125 to 32 kHz. Our results suggest that sea otters can detect a broad range of airborne sounds, comparable to many terrestrial carnivores studied.

5. Beavers

Animals With Small Ears
  • Scientific Name: Castor
  • Diet: Herbivore

Beavers, known as semi-aquatic creatures, thrive both on land and in water, often constructing their lodges as homes. Their diet typically includes water plants, bark, wood, and aquatic vegetation.

Despite their small ears, beavers possess excellent hearing, a crucial trait for detecting danger and avoiding predators. Remarkably, they can also hear underwater, thanks to small ear flaps that prevent water from entering their eardrums while swimming.

These aquatic rodents can distinguish the sounds of various predators, using different vocalizations to warn their family members of potential threats.

Do you know: Beavers have bodies perfectly adapted for aquatic life. Their rudder-like tail and webbed feet propel them through water at speeds of up to 5 mph (8 kph). According to National Geographic, they can remain submerged for approximately 15 minutes at a time.

6. Gorillas

Animals With Small Ears
  • Scientific Name: Gorilla
  • Diet: Herbivore

Gorillas, numbering around 1,063 in the wild, are divided into two species: eastern and western gorillas, found in equatorial Africa. Surprisingly, 98% of human DNA is similar to that of gorillas, yet gorillas have not developed the necessary immunities.

These massive animals can weigh up to 226 kg (500 pounds) and stand over 5’5” tall. With thick chests and large stomachs, they possess immense strength.

Despite their tiny ears, gorillas have well-developed hearing, crucial for communication and detecting danger in their dense habitat.

Like humans, gorillas have a set of 32 strong teeth, enabling them to consume coarse vegetation. A significant portion of their diet includes shoots, leaves, ants, snails, and bark.

Gorillas are family-oriented creatures, living in groups of 2 to 12 members led by a dominant adult male. Both males and females in the group care for one another, particularly the infants.

Do you know: The scientist’s work with gorillas was groundbreaking in its time. Similar to Dr. Jane Goodall’s research with chimpanzees, Dian named gorillas and studied their personalities. This work fueled her passion for protecting gorillas from poaching.

READ ALSO: Can You Ride A Giraffe

7. Musk Ox

Musk Ox is in love with its cub
  • Scientific Name: Ovibos moschatus
  • Diet: Herbivore

The last animal on our list with small ears are Musk Oxen. Once widespread across the Arctic, these creatures have seen a significant decline in numbers due to rampant hunting.

These giants are found throughout Arctic North America to Greenland, standing at an average height of 4-5 ft and weighing between 180-410kg (400 – 900 pounds).

Their large bodies aid in retaining heat in cold climates, while their short legs and small furry ears minimize heat loss.

Musk oxen are herbivores, feeding on plants they find, including lichens, roots, and mosses, which they dig up using their hooves in wintry months.

Living in one of the coldest regions on Earth, their small ears help them conserve body heat and stay warm.

Do you know: The musk ox gets its name from the strong, musky smell it emits during mating season, even though the scent isn’t musk!

FAQs About Animals With Small Ears

1. Do small-eared animals have any advantages over large-eared ones?

Small-eared animals often possess unique adaptations that cater to their specific environments. For example, small ears can help regulate body temperature in hot climates, minimize water loss, or provide exceptional hearing for detecting subtle sounds. These adaptations make them well-suited to their niches, even if their ears are not as prominent as those of larger species.

2. Do camels have small ears?

Despite their large size, camels have relatively small ears compared to other animals. However, their ears are well-adapted to their environment. They can close their nostrils and ear openings to protect themselves from sand and dust during sandstorms. Additionally, their ears are covered with hair to keep out insects and prevent sunburn.

3. Do snakes have ears?

Contrary to popular belief, snakes do have ears, but they are internal rather than external. Located behind their eyes, these internal ears allow snakes to detect sounds and vibrations from their environment, aiding in hunting prey and avoiding predators.

4. Do monkeys have small ears?

The size of a monkey’s ears can vary depending on the species. Some, like the spider monkey, have small ears, while others, like the proboscis monkey, have large ears that stick out from their heads. This variation showcases how different physical features evolve and adapt to specific environments over time.

5. Which animals have smaller ears than humans?

Animals with smaller ears than humans include kangaroos, squirrels, rabbits, rats, and hamsters.



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