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Wednesday , 19 June 2019
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Bats: Are they really blind?

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Bats are interesting and amazing animals. In fact, they are the only mammals having the ability to fly. Observing them in their natural habitat can truly be fascinating. However, these innocent creatures are often misunderstood by people worldwide. This is probably because they have long pointed teeth, hang upside-down or due to their repeated association to vampires or Dracula in books, old tales, movies and television. Moreover, the misconstrued notion that bats are blind has been around the minds of people since forever. Well, if this has been your past perception about bats then this article would surely take you by surprise.

Are bats really blind?

The expression ‘as blind as a bat’ should be deleted from our heads forever. Bats certainly are not blind and a few species can see very well. Even in extreme dark conditions, these creatures have great vision because of a system called echolocation, which even most researchers are still struggling to completely understand.  

As the bats fly around, they emit beeps, chirps, squeaks, clicks and similar sounds via their noses and mouths. These emitted sounds range from 25,000 to 70,000 vibrations per second, most of which can’t be heard by humans as our sound range is just around 30,000 vibrations. In fact, even the bats don’t hear the sounds they produce as when they emit these vibrations, their ear muscles contract which thus momentarily turns off the sound. But what they do actually hear is the echo which bounces back from the thing or object. Hence, it is because of this system of echolocation that the bats are able to manoeuvre in order to avoid any obstacles in their path.  

Though bats are blind when they are born, they start seeing soon after. The younger bats begin seeing 7 to 9 days after their birth. Their eyes, while usually small and poorly developed than compared to other nocturnal animals, are completely functional and can also detect various colours.    

Importance of bats:

The crux of the matter is that bats are very important for our eco-system. Do you like insects or mosquitoes? Bats do! They eat a lot of them because of which you don’t have mosquitoes bothering you in your backyard cookout gathering.

So there you have it, a surprising but true fact about bats. There are still several other things to be learnt about this incredible creature and it is more than likely it will continue to be a source of surprises.

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