Echolocation is the use of sound waves and echoes in order to determine the place where objects are located. Bats are able to use echolocation in order to navigate and to find food when they are in the dark. For echolocation, bats may send out sound waves through the nose or the mouth. When sound waves do hit the objects, they will make echoes. The echo will bounce off an object and then return towards the ears of the bats. The bats may listen to that echo so that they may know where the objects is, its shape and how big the object is.
While using the echolocation, bats may detect even objects which are thin like human hair in the complete darkness. It helps to find insects that are as small as the size of a mosquito, which most bats do like eating. The bats are not blind, but they do use echolocation to make their way around many things, especially in darkness.
There are other mammals that are known to use echolocation such as shrews, whales and dolphins, and there are birds that can use echolocation in order to navigate or find food. There are also blind people who are known to use echolocation in order to navigate their surroundings.
Humans are not able to hear such ultrasonic sounds which are being made by bats. However, there are insects that may hear such sounds like crickets, beetles and moths. When they hear the sounds, they can turn to fly away and they can make a zigzag, looping or spiral pattern so that they can avoid being eaten.
Echolocation is simple. The bats produce the sounds when they rush the air away from their lungs past the vibrating vocal chords. The vibration may be caused by the fluctuations that come from the rushing air, and it is formed into a sound wave. The sound wave is normally the moving pattern of the fluctuations in the air pressure. When the air pressure changes, the surrounding air particles will be pushing the air pressure out and it will then pull them in again. The particles will then push while pulling the particles that are found next to them, and they will be passing the energy and the pattern of sounds. This is the way that a sound is able to travel a long distance within the air.
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