73: Bats are blind.
Myth Scale: 3
About the myth:Have you ever heard the saying ‘blind as a bat” before? These flying mammals are active under the cover of darkness, an it is nearly impossible for us to see anything in the dark. Seems likely that bats could be blind.
The truth: Bats don’t rely on sight nearly as much as people do. That doesn’t mean they are blind though. All bats can see. Some of the fruit-eating bats can see especially well. Bats that feed on insects have another adaptation to help them locate food. It’s called echolocation and it is when bats send out high-itched sounds and listen for the sounds to rebound off the surrounding objects. Bats detect what is around them and pinpoint their insect meals this way. The echolocation sounds are too high-pitched for people to hear, but researchers can use special equipment to detect these signals The scientists can even tell bat species based on their echolocation sounds.
The takeaway: Even though they are mostly nocturnal, bats are not blind. They have good vision but even better hearing. Maybe instead of “blind as a bat,” the phrase should be “hear like a bat”.
Additional facts: While we are on the subject of bats, let’s talk about the whole rabies issue. Some people are convinced all bats have rabies. While bats can be carriers of rabies, they are no more or less susceptible than other mammals. As with all wild animals, give bats plenty of space. Especially if they are out during the day or they are acting strange in any other way.
This is an excerpt from the book The Truth About Nature – A Family’s Guide to 144 Common Myths about the Great Outdoors. This wonderful book dispels myths about nature, provides unique facts about legends, has a ‘Stranger than Fiction’ section and provides directions for fun nature experiments. There are 207 pages of fun all wrapped up in this entertaining book. One of J-Man’s favorite pages in the book is on how frogs freeze in the winter.
Stranger than Fiction
Frogs can freeze in the winter.
Winter is a difficult season for many animals. But have you ever thought about how frogs and toads survive winter? They will often experience a hibernation-like state during cold weather where their metabolism slows down. Aquatic species usually spend the winter on the bottom of a pond or stream. Terrestrial species will sometimes bury themselves underground below frost line. Other places to oeerwinter include cracks and crags, logs, rocks, or deep in the leaf litter. Frogs and toads in these locations can freeze during the winter. The frogs and toads will have ice crystals inside the body, but high levels of glucose in the frog’s organs prevent these from freezing altogether so it keeps them alive.
In the tropics, some amphibians will estivate during the long dry season. This is kind of like hibernation during hot weather.
Crazy I say!
Other ‘Stranger than Fiction’ sections reveal facts about Killer Whales, Beavers Teeth, Male Seahorses Carry the Babies and Temperature Determines Whether Alligator Babies are Male or Female. Don’t you want to know the details about all of those and many more fun facts about nature? Also, read about 16 legends on Luck and 16 Legends about weather.
Some of the fun activities in the The Truth About Nature book include how to make a tornado, make a mini-compost bin with worms, make your own slime, and create a rainbow. The creative activities are coordinated by seasons allowing for year round fun.
With great illustrations, well organized material and easy to read content this is an entertaining and educational book for all ages. I’m going to be purchasing one for J-Man’s classroom.
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I was given The Truth About Nature book for this review. All opinions and comments are my own.