Bats befuddle my brain. I just can’t comprehend how they work.

Ok, so we all think they are blind. After all ‘blind as a bat’! However the truth is that bats are far from blind, they just don’t rely on vision to get on with life. They can see with their ears which is a particular gift that I cannot get my head around.

When darkness falls and they take flight in search of moths and other flying insects they hunt them by echolocation rather than eyesight. They squeak many times a second and listen for the echoes which inform them where their prey is.

This sounds like quite a feat but the more we look into the details of this the crazier it becomes. Firstly they squeak constantly at speeds up to 200 squeaks per second. That in itself is quite an achievement.

Each squeak is so high pitched that humans cannot usually hear it and before the next squeak they listen to the echo and process this information. 200 times per second!

They build up a very detailed aural picture of their environment using this technique and can fly as if in daylight. Echolocation enables them to find their fast flying prey in the pitch dark too, and to home in and capture it before it escapes. Some bats can also identify the species of moth by the echoes bounced off it and will choose their preferred flying prey over those not as tasty!

 

About the author

Jason follows his lifelong vocation as a countryside photographer who tries to catch the spirit of the places he visits. After decades working as a professional editorial photographer he now focuses much of his time on conceptual fine art photography, visual storytelling and in aiding others to follow their creative calling.

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