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Bats are Blind
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Bats are blind.

Don’t Believe That!

“Blind as a bat” is a very common expression that happens to be completely untrue. All 1,000+ bat species can see just fine – some types of bats have eyesight that is three times more acute than a human’s.

The blindness myth probably originated from bat’s echolocation abilities – under the assumption that an animal with such an ability wouldn’t need to rely on traditional sight. 70% of bats utilize echolocation to navigate and hunt for food. They produce a continuous stream of high pitched sounds that bounce off objects and return to the bat’s ears, where the echoes are analyzed to produce a map of their environment. It is only used when there is insufficient daylight, but quite useful for these nocturnal creatures who usually hang out in caves.

Bats have acquired a bad reputation, associated with Halloween, witches and of course, vampires. In fact, only about 0.03% of bats are so-called “vampire” bats – they do not attack humans but get teaspoon-sized snacks from other animals – the human equivalent of a mosquito bite. Bats are vital to Earth’s ecosystem, responsible for the pollination of over 300 plant species, including bananas and avocados. Insect-eating bats provide natural pest control that has been valued many billions of dollars per year – one bat can eat thousands of bugs in a single night.

Bonus Fact: Bat’s saliva contains an anti-clotting enzyme that is being used to develop an anti-blood-clotting drug called… draculin.

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