• Question: how can bats detect their prey without eyesight

    Asked by george123 to Claire, Renata, Suzanne on 27 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Claire El Mouden

      Claire El Mouden answered on 27 Jun 2013:

      They make really high pitches noises and they listen for the echos. They build up a picture in the heads of what the world looks like based upon the echos. What is great is they can ‘see’ like this in pitch black just as well as in daylight. To increase the quality of the image, they can make faster noises – so when they close in on a prey, you can hear their pips get faster and faster until it’s like a constant wrrr sound as they grab the prey

    • Photo: Suzanne Harvey

      Suzanne Harvey answered on 28 Jun 2013:

      As Claire described, bats use echolocation, finding prey through sound. It’s not just prey though, they locate us in the same way! If you’re ever outdoors at night somewhere quiet, bats will fly very close to you, but never hit you. When I lived in the forest for fieldwork this happened all the time, it’s a little scary having something you can’t see fly so close at night! 🙂