Did you hear that? Chances are you didn’t -but your dog did. Many creatures in the animal kingdom put us to shame with their highly adapted hearing skills.
An animal’s senses are crucial to its way of life, and ultimately, to its survival. A heightened sense of smell means the shark can track down its prey based on a single drop of blood, a hawk’s incredibly sharp eyesight means it can spot a tiny dormouse from high up in the sky, and a rabbit knows it’s time to run when it senses the vibrations of its group stomping the ground with their hind legs.
A creature’s hearing is just as vital to its survival, and plays a large part in both hunting prey and escaping predators, but also aids unique ways of communicating with its companions and creates awareness of its environment.
It’s not exactly a hidden talent, considering the size of its ears, but a
fennec fox’s sense of hearing is incredible in the way it is put to use. They are the smallest foxes in the world, but have the biggest ears relative to body size. Their extremely sensitive hearing apparatus is used to listen for small prey scurrying in the sand.
The ears stand to attention at all times, reaching 15 centimetres (six inches) in length. The auditory bullae, the hollow structure of the middle ear, is enlarged in fennec foxes, allowing them to rely mostly on their bat-like ears for hunting and locating prey, communicating with each other, and evading predation.