What Kind Of Sounds To The Bats Make And Can We Hear It?


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Kath Senior answered
The sounds bats make in order to find their way and detect food usually take the form of a continuous series of very high-pitched pulses. In horseshoe bats the pulses are normally emitted at the rate of about ten per second when the bats are hunting. The pulses are far too high up the scale for humans to hear; some people may hear bats squeaking, but these sounds are not used for echolocation.

Echolocation pulses were not even detected by scientists until 1938, shortly after the invention of microphones sensitive enough to be able to pick up such high-pitched sounds.

The rapid stream of sound signals enables a bat to monitor the movements of its fast-moving prey with amazing precision. Sometimes less than a second separates the initial detection of an insect and its capture. When not hunting, a bat slows down its sound generation rate; high-flying bats that are simply flying from one place to another produce pulses at a rate of about one per second. The rate rapidly picks up when they begin to hunt, and as a bat doses in on a victim, it may emit up to 200 sound pulses per second.

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