These Whispering, Walking Bats Are Onto Something | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on September 6, 2020

slicing through the shadows scanning for prey hidden under a cloak of darkness bats are masters of the night sky thanks to their twin superpowers flight and echolocation using sound waves to find threat

so what the heck is this one doing its hunting on the ground and not flying kind of an undignified way to catch a meal isn't it I mean for a bat

Turns out echolocation that natural sonar bats use isn't the killer technique you'd think like it's not actually that sneaky we can't hear the frequency that bats put out but to a moth it's louder than a screen more like

A jet taking off it's kind of a dead giveaway and some prey have found ways to fight back this tiger moth has loaded up on a diet of toxic plants that make him disgusting to eat a fact he broadcasts with morning

Clicks from an organ called a timbal the same one cicadas used to say bats learn as pups to stay away and these hawk moths can scramble bat sonar by emitting clicks from their genitals

It's a dogfight that bats are starting to lose that's why some like this pallid bat are changing the game she still echo locates but only to navigate and she keeps the volume low

She's a whispering bat when it's time to hunt she goes into stealth mode her ears point down where scorpions and crickets are milling in the loose earth and she listens look at those ears again they're huge

Relative to her tiny skull they do a great job of capturing and amplifying sound especially the low pitched noises of scurrying prey and see that funny flap it's called the tragus they provide extra information about where a sound is

Coming from we have them too but in a bat they're way bigger and the bat has a final card to play here she's immune to scorpion venom but the sting rattles her a little it's not as graceful as the high-flying aerobatics

But hey it works a lot of people really don't like bats but they do us a favor by eating tons of mosquitoes watch our video about how mosquitoes use six separate needles to suck your blood and speaking of bloodsuckers if you do

Like bats watch this video about vampire bats from our friends at NPR skunk bear and thanks for watching deep look

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