Do Sharks Have Ears & Make Sounds? How Do They Communicate?

Do Sharks Have Ears & Make Sounds? How Do They Communicate?

We get these questions a lot.

Sharks are fascinating creatures. They have been around for 400 million years, and they continue to change and evolve with every passing decade. However, one thing that has not changed is their ability to communicate with each other.

Sharks use various methods of communication like body language and sound waves in water. They also use electric currents when swimming near the surface. 

This post will discuss various aspects of shark communication. It includes how sharks signal their intentions to other sharks and what signals they give off during mating.

And whether or not sharks can hear sounds underwater using sonar frequencies that are too high for human ears to detect.


Sharks have ears, but they are different compared to humans. They have a special organ called Ampullae of Lorenzini. They are able to communicate between themselves with the help of this organ that picks up vibrations in the water.

Before we get started, take a quick look at these interesting facts about sharks:

  • They have been around for more than 400 million years.
  • Most species are harmless to humans.
  • Sharks have the ability to move in any direction.
  • They have no bones as their skeletons are made of cartilage.

How Sharks Communicate With Each Other:

Most sharks do not have vocal cords. Their primary means of communication are through body language and their movements when interacting with other sharks in their environment. Sharks might use their pectoral fins to touch other sharks and signal that they are peaceful or aggressive. 

When a shark is ‘sleeping’ (because they are motionless and relaxed), it will keep its pectoral fins close to its body.

When a shark feels threatened by another, this fin protrudes outward from the body. It’s to signal aggression towards other sharks in the area.

Sharks also use changes in their overall body posture to signal if they are in a relaxed state. Sharks swim with their dorsal fins pointing upwards.

This is often seen as a sign that the shark is aggressive towards other nearby sharks. If it swam with its belly close to the water’s surface, it feels safe in its environment without any threats.

How They Communicate In Mating Season:

Male sharks become more territorial in certain areas where females typically spawn eggs during mating season. It makes them even less likely to give up their spot in a swimming area.

Sharks also use touch signals to communicate when they mate with other sharks. It’s done just before the female shark lays her eggs and leaves. 

I another shark swims too close at this point, it can often cause great stress for both of them. It often results in injury from scratching each other.

Mapping out safe territories for mating purposes during the summer months has become more difficult than usual due to shark netting. 

It keeps them confined in limited areas rather than allowing them access to deeper waters. The biggest difference between this type of netting and other types is that it is made from a very fine but durable mesh.

It allows water to pass through while keeping sharks, rays, and turtles confined until they can be safely tagged. 

These nets may help prevent shark attacks during summer when humans are most likely to go into the water. They also prevent these animals from getting the exercise and freedom to access deeper waters necessary for their survival.

Impeccable Senses:

The water surrounding a shark is full of different stimuli. They must be able to tune it out to focus on what’s important at any given time.

Some studies have shown how sharks can differentiate between various amplitudes of sound waves and what types of sounds they pick up best underwater.

Many scientists believe that a large part of a shark’s ability to hear these vibrations from great distances comes from its lateral line system. It runs all along the length of its body, just under its skin.

This work usually involves one ear picking up certain frequencies. It depends on where it is located within or outside the animal’s body. At the same time, another might not receive any sound signal.

Sharks also have a special organ called the Ampullae of Lorenzini. It’s a series of small sacs to sense electric fields in water and small movements nearby. Humans do not naturally possess this special sensory organ, but some animals like catfish and stingrays do.

Most sharks can detect vibrations from hundreds of feet away. Scientists believe that they use them as a way to ‘see’ their environment without having light available at all times. 

Various Methods Of Shark Communication:

Sharks might not hear certain sounds in the same way that humans do. They can still pick up on vibrations in water, enabling them to communicate with each other through various means.

Here are the differences in the hearing system between humans and sharks.

Frequency Range20 to 20,000 Hz10 to 1,000 Hz
Ear StructureExternal and InternalOnly External
Sound Source DetectionAir and WaterOnly water
Sound Reception OrganInner EarLateral Line

They also have touch receptors all over their bodies. It makes it possible to feel faint changes in pressure or any type of movement nearby.

Sharks often use these senses when hunting down prey after using echolocation as a form of sonar. It’s done to visualize what’s happening around them without actually being able to see anything at all.

This makes it much easier for sharks who live deep under sea level. It’s where sunlight cannot reach most areas and may only emit some dim light during certain times throughout the day.

Some types of sharks can detect small earthquakes that occur in other parts of the world. Others have more developed organs.

The hammerhead shark is known to detect the slightest electrical changes in water. It gives them a distinct advantage over many other species. They are more than capable of defending themselves against various predators.

Sharks have developed a variety of ways to communicate with each other to ensure the safety of their species. But it is believed that they are unable to vocalize sounds. Despite this, Sharks also use pheromones during mating season.

It’s to send signals along scent trails towards members of the opposite sex. It makes it possible for these two animals to find each other without any trouble whatsoever.

The Great White Shark Is Majestic:

Some species use their teeth to make a distinctive noise, such as the great white shark. It’s done when they are rubbing against each other to send out signals used for mating purposes.

Further information about mating of the great white shark can be seen in the following table.

Mating SeasonLate spring and early summer
Mating LocationNear the surface of the ocean
Mating RitualsMales will court females by biting their pectoral fins
Gestation Period11 to 12 months

They create an area on the sand where they dig a small pit and then rub their bodies along the ground to make a unique sound.

This has attracted many great white sharks in the area to come over for a potential mate. The type of information that sharks can communicate is quite extensive. Still, many individuals believe that they cannot communicate with one another until further studies have been conducted.

Aquariums often use shark nets to keep sharks confined within their walls. It’s done by using them as a perimeter barrier that prevents all forms of movement into or out-of-the aquarium facilities.

This type of netting may look attractive. It does nothing more than trap sharks inside small areas until they die off. It’s because they have no way of hunting down prey to feed on. 

This type of netting is also known to have killed many species that are considered endangered. It’s because they keep them from moving freely into other areas where they can avoid being hunted down for their fins or teeth.

How Do Sharks Communicate

Mating Season And How It Affects Their Behavior:

In general, sharks tend to become more aggressive during their mating season. It’s a way for them to protect themselves from various predators.

They can also be quite territorial when they’re in heat. Sharks can be quite dangerous when in the heat of the mating season. They will attack anything that comes near them if they perceive it as a threat. Additionally, the shark may also:

  • Increase its hunting activity
  • Migrate over long distances
  • Increase its activity levels

Sharks also become more aggressive when looking for food on their hunting grounds. They will attack anything on sight without thinking twice about the consequences.

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