Do Bats Avoid Lights?

Bats are very commonly misunderstood animals. They are mammals classified into the Chiroptera family. They look rat-like but possess webbed fore limbs. Bats are known to be the only mammals that can fly both long and short distance. And they are the only nocturnal mammals that fly. Why do these creatures avoid daylight, sleep in the day, and fly only at night?

Also commonly asked is the question of whether bats are blind or can see as clearly as other animals? This still brings to the front burner, the relationship between bats and light.

Bats are definitely not blind, but have accurate vision. They also avoid both natural and artificial lights. Being nocturnal animals, they are adapted to extreme low light conditions. When bats are in flight during the night, they are conscious of artificial lights and avoid them as much as they can. They also avoid pitching their roost in areas that may have a direct access to shining light.

How then do bats search for and locate their food? They use a system known as echolocation to guide their movement. Echolocation is also known as Sonar. They send sound sign signals as they fly and listen attentively for feedback. The feedback helps them in locating anything important to them in the thick darkness.

Bats usually hunt in packs, foraging for insects using echolocation, and often catching their prey mid-flight. During the day, they often enter into a near hibernation state called torpor, which means slowing the body rate while sleeping to conserve energy and emerge to hunt at night. Some of them do fly as much as a 50 kilometer distance in search of food.

To aid the survival and maintenance of bats, the Bat Conservation Trust has recommended that buildings used by bats as roost must have its light switched off during the perceived movement of the bats and at their peak activity time frame. For the Conservationists, building owners must ensure that light from buildings does not fall on the roost access routes. Even celebratory lighting deployed in any area where bats live ought to be used sparingly with exemptions only on special occasions with local authority approvals.

Bats are a very diverse group of animals and there are two major kinds of bats in the 1200 species that exist - the colonizing bats or solitary bats. Colonizing bats come in 4 major species; they sleep in caves and mines during the day and hunt by night. They are fast creatures and can form very large colonies.

Some people wonder Will a bright light or high pitch sound deterrent machine work on bats? to get them out of the attic.

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Wildlife Education - Information and Advice for the Safe Removal of Bats from Attics