Do Bats Use Sounds to See?

There are many species around the world that use sound reverberation to better navigate their surroundings, including toothed and baleen whales like dolphins, porpoises, killer whales, sperm whales, gray whales, and rorquals. Even certain species of bird are hypothesized to use a type of sound navigation system. The ability to both emit ultrasonic sound waves and use the sound reverberations to map the environment is a biological, built-in system known as biosonar, which is also referred to as echolocation. Like the species of echolocating animals, microbats also use sounds to see.

Continue reading to learn more about echolocation in bats, including how bio-sonar works and why bats use it.

Virginia Bat Control Assistance 804-729-9097
Virginia Bat Control Assistance 804-729-9097

Microbats Have Echolocation Abilities

As discussed in many blogs prior, there are two primary species of bats: microbats (Megachiroptera) and megabats (Megachiroptera). Megabats are also known as fruit bats or old world fruit bats because they mainly eat the juices and nectar of fruits and flowers. Megabats do not retain echolocating abilities. However, some recent studies show that some might, like the Egyptian fruit bat. Because megabats do not prey on living organisms, they do not need to rely on flying accuracy and agility, so it makes sense that they would not have echolocating abilities.

Microbats, on the other hand, are insectivores and can eat their body weight in flying insects each night. All microbat species use echolocation, such as Big Brown Bats, Little Brown Bats, Lesser Long Nosed bats, and even our beloved state bat, the Virginia Big-Eared bat. But why? Well, it’s not because they are blind or have poor vision.

Bats are Not Blind

Many people correlate bats and blindness, and assume it is the reason they have echolocation capabilities. But the truth is, bats can see very well. They use their echolocation to improve the precision and speed of their hunting abilities. Echolocation allows bats to better dive and dart more accurately for mosquitoes, gnats, flies, moths, and all the other flying insects they consume each night. Microbats are nocturnal, so they are usually out hunting during dawn and dusk when lighting is very low or gone entirely.

How Echolocation Works

Echolocation is the process of emitting ultrasonic sound waves that are discharged into the surrounding area. These sounds reverberate and bounce back toward the bat, which in turn provides a more descriptive mapping of its surroundings. We can measure how bats use their echolocation because they emit a clicking noise when echolocating. Amazingly, bats compare the outbound pulsations with the returning echoes to generate a detailed mental image of their surroundings.

Are experiencing heightened bat activity around your property, thus causing you concern about structural damage and possible infestation? Contact Virginia Bat Pros at 804-729-9097 for comprehensive bat removal and control services in Richmond and all surrounding Virginia counties. We serve commercial and residential clients.

Related Posts:

Learn How Bats are Nature’s Pesticide
How to Safely Support Local Bat Colonies
Could Wind Turbines Be a Threat to Bats in Virginia?

The Truth About Bats and Blindness

Have you heard that old adage, “blind as a bat?” Well, if you were a bat, you would be quite offended by this saying. That is because bats are not blind! They don’t even have poor eyesight really. It’s just another classic misconception and misunderstanding about this amazing and highly-beneficial mammalian species we call bats.

Continue reading to learn the real truth about bats and blindness, as well as, how to protect your property from any nuisance bat interference.

Virginia Bat Control Company
Virginia Bat Control Company 804-729-9097

Bats are NOT Blind After All

Many people are aware that bats, Microbats specifically, use echolocation. For this reason, they wrongly assume that bats cannot see well. Yes, it is true that microbats (Microchiroptera) use echolocation to navigate around in the dark, but this is solely to help hunt prey more accurately. In fact, microbats can see quite well (and even hear quite well by the way), but they use their Echolocating abilities to navigate their course, as well as, dart and dash for prey at a more precise rate.

Bats Use Echolocation But Do Not Rely on it for Sight

Echolocation is also referred to as “biosonar”, which is a built-in biological system that works by measuring the returning echoes of emitted signals that bounce off surrounding objects. Many animals aside from bats use this type of built-in sonar system, including species of dolphins, porpoises, toothed whales, Killer whales, dwarf sperm whales, shrews, and some species of bird.

Megabats, also called Fruit bats, do not have echolocating abilities. They have big eyes and great vision, so they have no need for echolocation.

Echolocation is made possible through vocalizations that are produced by the larynx of microbats, but released through mouth and nostrils. There are a few species of Rousettus in the Megabat suborder that use a similar sonar system to Microbats, but in contrast to producing sounds in the larynx, they produce sounds by clicking their tongues.

When bats use echolocation, they emit signals in ultrasonic pulses over 15 kilohertz which then travel through the air and bounce off of surrounding objects. Bats analyze the returning sounds to identify the objects and assess the distance between them. The type of signals and sounds emitted by echolocating bats differ among species in many aspects, including frequency, length of call, intensity, and degree of modulations.

Do You See Bats Around Your House at Dusk?

Get Trusted Virginia Bat Removal and Control ASAP!

Call Virginia Bat Pros at 804-729-9097 for non-lethal bat removal and control assistance in Virginia. We serve all of Old Dominion, including Richmond, Petersburg, Short Pump, Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Newport News, Virginia Beach, and more. We offer 24 hour bat removal, as well as, numerous residential and commercial bat exclusion services, such as bat cleanup and restorations for bat damages. We even provide insurance work! Contact us today for a free estimate.