Are Bats Blind?
We've all heard the saying 'as blind as a bat', but are all bats really blind?
As Blind as a Bat
A bat does not have brilliant eyesight but is not completely unable to see. Bats use soundwaves to be able to find their way in the dark. They produce a series of high squeaks which are then reflected back by the many objects around it.
The way in which the bat finds its way is called echolocation. Humans cannot hear these high-pitched noises.
The different species of bat makes their high-pitched noises through different ways. The Long-eared bat produces them through their mouths. The Horseshoe bat produce them from their noses. The returning echos and sound waves are then picked up from the bat's larfe sensitive ears.
The information the bat receives on these sound waves is magnificent, the loudness, the pitch and the direction of the echos returning from a flying insect or other prey. It can then work out the distance, speed and direction of the insect with great accuracy and then attack its prey.
However, not all bats eat insects. Vampire bats feed on the blood of large mammals. One false vampire nat preys upon lizards, smaller bats, birds and mice. Some tropical bats have extra-long tongues for drinking nectar out of flowers.
Which mammals fly in the dark?
The only true flying mammals are the bats.
A bat's wing is formed from a large membrane supported by both the front and hind limbs and by four long 'fingers' of its 'hand'. Other flying mammals such as the flying squirrels can only glide, but a bat actually flies.