Bats are not blind. In fact, certain bats can see three times better than humans. Because different types of bats may hunt insects and other animals during the night, they also have an additional trick that is known as echolocation that can help them find their way in the dark. A bat can use its mouth to create sounds that can bounce off nearby objects, which is how a bat will be able to snatch up an insect in mid-air with limited visibility. When a sound returns to the ears of the bat, then the bat is going to be aware of the place where the prey is found.
The saying “as blind as a bat” is not accurate. The truth is that over 1,100 species may see and their vision can be pretty good, even though it may not be as sharp as some other animals that hunt during the night.
There are two different groups of bats, but both groups are believed to come from one ancestor and have evolved separately. The first group is called Megachiroptera and it is comprised of medium sized to large bats that tend to eat nectar and fruits or sometimes even small fish or animals. These species of bats do have pronounced visual centers with big eyes and they use their vision sense and their sense of smell for capturing the prey. One example is the flying fox bat species, which are able to see well in the daylight and can see in color. They rely on daylight vision and they will not fly on moonless nights.
The second group is Microchiroptera and micro bats. They are small in size and they eat insects. These species may use echolocation when it comes to navigating and identifying the available food. They have two types of photoreceptor cells in the retina of the mammal as well as cones for daylight or color vision with rods for night vision. The micro bats, which are also nocturnal, are believed to have the rods only, but they are still able to see during the night. Taking into account the nocturnal lifestyle of the bats, they may be sensitive to changing light since it is the way they use to hunt during the night. The sense of vision can also be used by micro bats in order to navigate over long distances beyond the range of echolocation.
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