Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Na na na na na na Bat-hearing!

To carry on our tradition of talking about cute things today's cute animal is...(drumroll)...

A baby bat!


Now, most people know that bats use echolocation to hunt, as they have VERY bad eyesight, but did you know that they actually do this in three ways? The bat will let out a very high, loud chirp and then listen for the sound reflections to come back, catching them with his giant (adorable) ears.

The first type of chirp is called constant frequency, which means that the frequency is steady. This type of sound is used to locate an item or object. The second type is called frequency modulated. This means that the frequency (how close the waves are together) gradually descends. This helps the bat to tell what type of object it is, as well as how far away.

Finally, the bat utilizes the Doppler effect (that is, the way sounds change in pitch as they get closer or further away) to modulate its speed in relation to its environment. These skills are so precise that bats can even tell the type of insect in order to decide on the most delicious dinner possible. 

Basically, bats are awesome.

But we knew that already. Photo here.

If you want to learn EVEN MORE about how bats hear and explore their surroundings, here is a cool power point presentation!

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