Myth busted: bats aren’t blind like many think

by savannah
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A lot of people think bats are blind, which is probably a myth that arose from the fact that bats use echolocation to fly around at night. Still, echolocation doesn’t mean the eyes they have are just for show. The following is going to breakdown what bats can see.

Is there a bat species that is blind?

After learning that bats aren’t blind, some may think there must be at least one species that is blind. Maybe this species could be the reason many believe that bats are blind, but that is not the case. There are 1,100 bat species out there, and every one of them can see.

Is there eyesight perfect?

Now, that’s a harder question to answer because it depends on the species. The bottom line is that bats don’t have perfect eyesight. Many animals hunt at night that can see better than a bat.

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Digging a little deeper into this question, there are two main groups of bats. They have a common ancestor, but the reality is they evolved on their own. One of those groups is usually referred to as Megachiroptera.

These types of bats are normally quite large though there’s a good chunk of them that you could say are medium-sized creatures. For the most part, these bats stick to a diet filled of nectar and fruit though they do hunt animals from time to time.

Some of these bats even eat fish, which is not necessarily common knowledge. Another thing that should be pointed out about this group of bats is that their eyes are quite big.

The reason they are big is that they use their sense of smell and eyesight to catch prey whenever they hunt. Some of these bats rely on their vision so much that if there was no moonlight at night they wouldn’t be able to fly.

The other group of bats you need to know about are sometimes referred to as Microchiroptera. These are quite small compared to the bats mentioned before, which is probably why many folks call them microbats. These are the ones most people know because they mostly hunt insects.

It should also be pointed out that the chances of seeing a microbat are higher than seeing a Megachiroptera because micro bats make up about 70 percent of all bats. It should be pointed out that these types of bats use echolocation to fly and find the food they are hoping to find each time they fly at night.

Indeed, these bats rely heavily on echolocation to do most things; they still have functioning eyes, except they aren’t developed so well. Their vision may not be great, but they are still sensitive to light, which is vital for them since they are nocturnal.

Their hearing, on the other hand, is quite developed compared to other creatures, and their brains can create a map of their surroundings at an incredible speed, which makes them quite the hunters at night. This is probably one reason they became the stuff of legends and why many horror stories are partly based on their abilities.

Their eyes tell them the sun is finally setting and that it’s time for them to hunt for insects. It should also be pointed out that even though their little eyes aren’t too developed they are still functioning well enough to navigate long distances. The reality is that echolocation has a short range, so their eyes are there to pick up the slack.

Now, these are a few interesting facts about bats that are worth passing on, like how most bats can’t take off from the ground like a bird might be able to. It’s strange but most bats have to climb and fall from a high area to start flying, which is the reason you normally see them hanging from the ceiling of a cave. Hopefully, this information helps make you a little more interested in bats.

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