Q:

How do bats communicate?

A:

Bats communicate with each other through echolocation, the use of very high-frequency sounds. Using sound enables bats to visualize objects of any size in their environment.

Bats create sounds through their mouths, but some bats produce sounds through their noses. Their sensitive ears pick up the sound reflecting off the objects around them. They rely on echolocation not only for communication, but navigation as well. Echolocation enables them to recognize the size of any object.

Bats can also determine the distance of things based on the time it takes for the reflecting sounds to reach their ears. The bats emit consecutive, loud ultrasounds that fluctuate from a high to low frequency. This helps them easily identify and capture nearby prey and avoid obstacles in the way.

Bats generate an incredible rate of 200 pulses per second at extremely high frequencies that are largely inaudible to the human ear. The hearing range of humans is around 20 hertz to 15 to 20 kilohertz, depending on age. In contrast, bats are capable of hearing sounds up to 110 kilohertz in frequency.

More than 800 species of bats use varying frequency patterns. Different bat species use particular frequency ranges according to their surroundings and type of prey. Scientists can identify various species by listening to the sounds of bats using bat detectors.


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