Wednesday, November 20, 2013

'As blind as a bat'

Is a bat blind and needs echolocation like how we are taught? 
Nope, bats aren't blind at all!! There are about 1,100 species of bats in the world and not one is sightless. The fact that bats are blind and use echolocation or 'sonar' is completely bunkum. Fruit bats don't use echolocation at all. Their favourite food (yes, you guessed it right- Fruit) does not move much and they use their colour vision and keen sense of smell to locate it. For navigation, they use their large eyes. The Common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is the only bat that feeds on mammal blood; it has a vision that can rival our night vision devices. It can see a cow 120 meters away; in pitch darkness (try beating that). Microbats that eat insects do use echolocation to hunt.However for all other purposes (avoiding obstacles, spotting landmarks or calculating flying height) they use their eyes. Unlike Fruit bats though, microbats see in black and white. There are fish eating bats too, like the Greater Bulldog bat (Noctilio leporinus), which again uses its keen vision and big feet to scoop out fish from water. Lots of bats around your home means a lots
of less mosquitoes to deal with, because one hungry bat can munch up to 200 mosquitoes per night. Burrp!

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