Bats and Sonar Jamming

When people think of bats they often think of vampires, Edward Cullen, True Blood, or kitti's hog nose batthose pesky things that sometimes live in our attics. For me, I think of something majestic and magical that has the qualities of those creatures we read about in fairy tales and have seen in magical Halloween films, yet are able to be real in the world we all live in. They have the ability to be the size of a penny as a Kitti’s hog nose bat (Bumblebee Bats), to up to having a six foot wingspan as a flying fox, these creatures are truly amazing to me.

While taking classes at my local community college I had a professor who also had a love for bats. She came into class one day and spent the first thirty flying foxminutes showing a video of bats being wrapped up in a blanket getting ready for bed, and she called them bat burritos. This same professor also told me and the class about one of the many cool and interesting facts about bats that showed just how extraordinary they are.

Bats are creatures that fly at night (as we all know). In order to see where they are going and to help them find food, they use something called echolocation or sonar. This means that the bats produce a small buzzing sound that is able to bounce off of the prey before them. As the moth, or what have you, gets closer, the bats begins to make a faster series of calls. Because bats only have the night to feed, there is a huge race and competition to get all the food they need before morning and before the insects are eaten by another bat. To be able to get the food they need bats have begun doing something called sonar jamming where they are able to confuse the other bats with their own sounds, causing them to move off course of the insect allowing themselves to come in and take the food. sonar jaming and the tiger moth

It’s kinda like the bats are saying “nope, this is mine” and trick the other bat to get out of the way. Like the bats using sonar jamming, there is also a type of moth that has used this as a way to keep themselves from being eaten. Tiger moths create their own clicking sound that confuses the bats and causes them to have trouble sticking with a clear track. Although there is still a possibility the bat will be able to eventually find the moth location, the moths clicking makes it hard for them to pinpoint their exact location.

It’s crazy the amazing things that happen in the world that we don’t even know about! This is something that’s so interesting and amazing that just adds on to my love for creatures, especially bats.

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