Apparently, bats engage in adorable antics to grab hold of their prey.
A researcher noticed that bats did a cute imitation of his pet dog whenever they planned on catching their prey alive. They cocked their heads to the side. This sort of cute behavior attracted his attention and his curiosity was further piqued so he decided to delve into the phenomenon.
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The reason behind their weird behavior and why they were performing in such a manner was the question which was at stake. Apparently, they were catching their prey by using a peculiar strategy.
By employing high tech recording devices the researcher found out that a bat shakes its noggin and wiggles its ears in synchronicity with the bat’s sonar vocal actions.
These actions help the bat to hunt its prey. These movements superimpose themselves on the signals thereby aiding sight and hearing. This can partially be seen in dogs and cats and even human beings.
Bats use echolocation to find, monitor and catch their prey. How the mysterious head and ear movements enter the scenario of the hunt was determined by the researcher.
The movements of the big brown bat were tallied. A new method was used to gather the data. This bat hunts in both conditions of close quarters and in wide open spaces.
As bats sat on an area, their movements to track their prey were noted down. This prey consisted of mealworms dangled by a fishing line. Once the bats got the hang of the action, their ears and heads had devices attached to them.
The slightest movements they engaged in were recorded with precision. The head moved once per second in synch with the movements of the prey.
The ear’s actions occurred as the mealworms got closer. Though these ear movements were very small, they helped the bats find their prey with alacrity and focused attention.
All in all, the synchronicity of the movements were so finetuned that they allowed the bats to find their prey with the utmost finesse and accuracy. Earlier onwards these fine points had been ignored by researchers.
Bats do move their heads and this had gone on unobserved previously. Now, by studying the complex movements of the heads and ears of the bats, researchers are finding out that what was unseen before the present moment was the crucial missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle of the bats’ predatory behavior.
An article about this adorable bat behavior is published in open access journal PLOS Biology.