Do You Think Bats Are Blind?

Who ever said they were “blind as a bat” has a lot of explaining to do! There are over 100 species of bat in the world and every single one can see fairly well. The truth is that bats are not blind at all; they just have different visual capacities than other animals. Because they are nocturnal, they use alternative senses as well to communicate and see at night. Continue reading to learn about the differences between major bat species when it comes to their eyesight and sight aptitude.

Megachiroptera Bat Species

There are two species of bats, Megachiroptera and Microchiroptera. They are believed to share the same descendants, but overtime, evolved separately from each other. Megachiroptera bats are mostly medium and large in size. These megabats generally feed on fruits, nectar, and at times, fish or small animals. Additional terms for Megachiroptera bats include Flying Foxes, Fruit Bats, Megabats, and Old World Fruit Bats.

Megachiroptera bat species have large eyes and visual centers; allowing them to see better at night. They use their sight, as well as, their sense of smell to navigate in the dark and catch their prey. For example, a Flying Fox can also see during the day and in color as well! In fact, they cannot see or fly well on moonless nights, making them rely on their daytime vision.

Microchiroptera Bats

Microchiroptera bats are the smaller species of bat. They mostly eat insects and hunt them through the process of echolocation. Echolocation is the system that allows bats to navigate around, map out their surroundings, and catch their prey. It is like a sonar system that bounces high-frequency sounds off nearby objects; allowing them to grid their surroundings. You see, in mammals, there are two types of photo-receptors: cones and rods. Cones are primarily for daytime and color vision; whereas rods are for night vision. Without mentioning, you can already guess which species of bat has more of what. It’s not that micro bats do not have cones, they simply have under-developed ones compared to their sister species, the Mega bat.

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