Amazing world of night-fliers

Bats that don’t have good eyesight depend on ‘echolocation’ or sonar. Ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes.

It’s twilight, and as you walk, you suddenly see a flapping movement in the air. It’s too late for it to be a bird;  and you suddenly think of a bat. Most of us then repress a shudder, or even squeak in fear… we grow up not liking the idea of bats, and popular films reinforce that idea, associating bats with horror stories. But do take a minute and see the wonderful mammal that the bat is!

Bats are the only mammals naturally capable of true and sustained flight; others, such as “flying” squirrels, only glide from one place to another. Flight has enabled bats to become one of the most widely distributed groups of mammals. Apart from the Arctic, the Antarctic and a few isolated oceanic islands, bats exist all over the world.

Bats play an important role in eating insect pests, reducing the need for pesticides. Bats eat fruit, nectar, or pollen, while most smaller bats eat insects; others may feed on the blood of animals, small mammals, fish, frogs, fruit, pollen, or nectar. Not all bats are ‘blind’; large bats often have good eyesight.

But bats that don’t have good eyesight, depend on ‘echolocation’ or sonar. Ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing pulse with the returning echoes, the bat can produce detailed images of its surroundings. This allows it to detect, localise and even classify the prey in complete darkness.

The larger bats are called ‘fruit bats’ or ‘flying foxes’ (as you can see from my photograph, which was taken on the Bangalore-Mysore highway at Bidadi), they do look like small foxes. Some small bats are called ‘pipistrelles.’

So the next time you see a bat, don’t shrink in fear or disgust, but think of how it helps us by reducing the insect and pest population, and reduses the need for pesticides.

Comments:

  1. Deepa Mohan says:

    Many thanks to Siddharth of St.Louis, who inspired this post!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Smothered by smog: Struggle of vegetable vendors in Delhi’s Keshopur Mandi

Delhi's air pollution affects every resident, but for the urban poor, like vegetable vendors of Keshopur Mandi, it is much worse.

Halfway through our interview, vegetable vendor Rekha asked me point blank, “Isse kya hoga,” and at that moment, I could not think of an answer. She was right and had every reason to be hopeless. Much has been written about air pollution and much energy has been spent on expert committees and political debates and yet nothing has changed.  “Hum toh garib log hai, hum kisko jakar bole, hamari sunvai nahin hoti” (We are poor people, to whom do we go, nobody listens to us),” says Rekha Devi, who sells vegetables in the Keshopur Mandi. Keshopur is a large retail…

Similar Story

Study shows TNPCB ill-equipped to monitor the environmental impact of pollution

The scientific team of TNPCB is working at half its strength, affecting the Board's ability to carry out inspections in Chennai and other parts of the State.

The Central Pollution Control Board and the State Pollution Control Boards are the primary custodians for preventing and controlling all forms of pollution in our country. Despite their significant role in environmental protection, the public is mostly unaware of the functions of these regulatory bodies, due to insufficient research. Therefore, we at Citizen consumer & civic Action Group (CAG) have attempted to understand the functions of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB), through a study titled ‘The Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board in Retrospect: An Examination of Selected Parameters from 2017 to 2022.’ Read more: Fisherfolk lament as environmental…