Are Bats Actually Blind?


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We've all heard the phrase "blind as a bat." But is that really true? Nope.

 

In fact, all bats can see, and they can see especially well in dim light. There are several types of bats, and some see better than others. Primarily, fruit-eating bats have bigger eyes and find food through sight, according to an article by Discovery Kids.

 

However, bats that eat insects at night can still see, but they rely on their hearing more to capture prey. They use something called "echolocation," which is when a bat "sends out streams of high-pitched sounds through its mouth or nose," according to Discovery Kids. These signals reach other objects and bounce off them, letting the bat know what is around it. From there, the bat will interpret the signal and determine the "distance, location, size, texture and shape" of the object. Unfortunately, humans can't hear the bats' signals because they are too high-pitched.

 

Here is a video on bats and echolocation. It has a lot of cool video on bats!

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Photo by Radio Times

 

2 Comments

Great stuff. I have always been interested in this sort of topic in the back of my mind. I love researching old sayings and finding out where they come from, and blind as a bat is about as good of a saying as there is out there. To find out that bats actually aren't even blind is actually hilarious to me. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bats has more info on bats

I've always found bats to be horrifying creatures. Once a bat got trapped in my middle school in the middle of the day and the poor thing just kept flying around the school in a chaotic mess causing a ruckus.
Anyhow, what I find interesting is that though owls and bats have the same need: improved vision at night to catch their prey, most owls have excellent vision during the day as well, some even better than ours, while also having impeccable night vision! This seems unfair to the poor bat, but also interesting - the ways in which nature functions!

Here's an interesting article about owls: http://www.owls.org/Information/eyesight.htm

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