Cheryl E. Fitzgerald (synapsomatic) wrote,
Cheryl E. Fitzgerald

The Secret Lives of Bats

I haven't even listened to this podcast yet, but it's about bats, so it's got to be good, right?

Inquiring Minds: Episode 153: Merlin Tuttle: The Secret Lives of Bats
Or, on Soundcloud, if you prefer.

Bats are truly amazing animals, utterly underappreciated by too many people because of dumb myths and just plain falsehoods about them.
No, they're not going to get caught in your hair. The fact of the matter is that bats, especially the small ones, are the best, most skilled and most precise fliers in the entire animal kingdom. (You certainly don't ever worry about birds getting caught in your hair! Why would you think bats would while birds won't?) They're so good and so precise, they'll easily dodge you and whip by you so fast you won't even realize what just happened. I have been in the woods with bats flying around, flying right past me, around me, and even crossing my path right in front of me while I was walking. I've been in the same room(!), more than once, with a bat flying around because it somehow accidentally got inside, and didn't know how to get out; but it sure didn't have a problem flying around and not flying into anything.
Maybe you don't like bats just because you think they're ugly. (You can't think this is ugly, now can you?) I would bet that the ones you'd probably think are ugly are the ones with really weirdly shaped faces. Well, I'd ask you to take a moment to appreciate that those faces evolved as instruments for echolocation, especially for helping the bat focus their calls, and possibly helping to increase the power of the call. A call so powerful, mind you, from such a tiny little thing, that if you could hear it, it would be as loud as a jet engine! So, those little strange faces that a lot of people think are ugly are rather a lovely example of the beauty of evolution.

Oh, and by the way, bats do not have poor vision. They can see quite well, actually; a hell of a lot better than you can in very low light, which is what their eyesight evolved for. So on top of being able to "see" extremely well using their echolocation, they can also see just fine using their pretty acute eyesight.
Tags: animals, evolution, science!
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