Egyptian fruit bats are known to make a lot of noise while they’re roosting. Scientists at Tel Aviv University have determined that a lot of that noise is bats getting annoyed at other bats. Plus: scientists studying endangered bats in Cuba tag them in a very fancy way, with little bat-manicures!
Today we’re talking about bat talk, because we know now there’s actually a lot to talk about.
Egyptian fruit bats are known to make a lot of noise while they’re roosting.
But scientists haven’t know if the noises were a form of communication, or just noise for noise’s sake.
A research team from Tel Aviv University decided to find out.
They made video and audio records of 22 captive Egyptian fruit bats for 75 days.
That worked out to 15,000 vocalizations, which they then fed into a software program to identify patterns in what sounds they made in what situations.
One of the main takeaways: these bats bicker a lot.
A large percentage of the sounds were bats telling other bats off.
They really don’t like to be crowded, so they made a lot of noise to tell other bats to give them more space.
But they also argued about who should get nearby food, who was sleeping where, and with whom.
In short, they get annoyed with each other and they aren’t shy about saying so.
Which makes bat communication sound basically like being on social media.
A little more bat news from the summer before we go: a team has been working to study the endangered greater funnel-eared bat, which is only found in an underground cave system in Cuba.
They needed to identify which bats they’d already counted, but they needed something less invasive than, tagging or cutting.
So they used bits of non-permanent varnish on their claws, giving them bat-manicures!