Bats look like mice with wings, we all know that. They also have sharp teeth; they are nocturnal creatures, and they sleep upside down while hanging from caves’ ceilings or tree branches. Even though they live in the wild, they have something in common with pets such as cats and dogs. They all shake their heads and ears.
Bats use echolocation to locate and identify their prey. This allows them to hunt at night. However, researchers noticed some significant things that the little winged rodents do. They shake their heads in order to get proper information on their prey. They tend to waggle their ears while they make their characteristic sounds.
According to researchers who investigated the bats’ behavior, there are six movements which make up their localizing process. Each move takes one second to be performed. Bats shake their heads and move their ears so that they can get information on the animal or insects they target. Their brains receive waves which encompass the information.
Scientists tried to unveil the mysteries of bats by studying them in their labs. However, they are aware of the fact that it is hard to recreate the bats’ natural environment so that they behave the same they do in the wild. One of the most difficult task for researchers is to study the head movements of bats when they fly.
What the researchers did instead was to keep the animals still in their laboratory, while the prey was the one that moved, namely insects. By watching the bats hunt, specialists were able to tell that head movements are a crucial part of the echolocation process. The bats were monitored via computers.
Researchers believe that other animals also use their ears in a similar way. They observed such behavior in cats and dogs too.
Scientists believe that when animals waggle their ears is the same like moving their eyes around to get a better view of the surroundings. The difference is that with their ears they catch the audible features of the surroundings, which are highly important for them.
Bats have a particular sense of hearing, as they rely on it to hunt and even to move and fly. Depending on the echoes they receive after releasing their sounds, they can identify details on the objects and creatures around them.
Scientific findings documenting bats’ habits were published earlier this week in PLOS Biology. Melville Wohlgemuth was one of the main researchers.
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