Well we sometimes see them bump into objects. Especially during the day this will happen a lot. So, the obvious question is, can these animals see or are they flying by faith? As a matter of fact they can see well. In fact some of them have three times the vision of a human.
So what has led to this myth that they cannot see?
• Buts tend to be nocturnal (animals that are up during the night and sleep during the day. One can see how too much bright light then can blind even a perfect seeing nocturnal animal.
• The hang upside down, therefore for them to take flight they tend to sort of drop down in order to take flight, this has led to the belief that they can’t see as they tend to look as if they are falling. The clumsiness of the takeoff has made us believe that they are flying blindly.
So can they see in the dark?
Being nocturnal does not mean they have to see in the dark.
• However some like the fruit bats have a well-developed sight and can see well in very dim light.
• The smaller bats, especially those that hunt may not have very highly developed eyesight; they have however evolved a great sense of hearing, with the ability to hear high pitched frequencies which is what they rely on in the dark.
What are these high pitched frequencies?
Bats may not fully rely on eyesight when hunting insects in the dark. However echolocation works wonderfully for them.
• By making high frequency sound waves, they listen to the echoes bouncing back to them and are able to decipher where predators are, food is located, textures and even distances.
• Due, to this, despite not seeing well in the dark, they are able to avoid objects and get to where they want to go with ease and grace.
So is this a busted myth?
Yes it is. Therefore, do not go disturbing a bat because you think they cannot see you especially during the day.
• They do see you. And like many animals cornered may react by biting you. While the bite might be small, who knows, you may have been beaten by one that carries rabies.
• They do not look clumsy because they can’t see, it’s the flight take off that is a little clumsy and not as graceful as an eagles’.