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Are bats really blind?

Last Reviewed and Updated on July 27, 2022

Bats are, without a doubt, one of the most magnificent creatures on our planet. Many bats hunt by night and use echolocation to find their food. One of the popular idioms used by people is “blind as a bat,” but are bats really blind? And if they are not, is their vision good or is it bad? Let’s find out.

Bat vision: are bats really blind?

While most bats do have very small eyes, they are not blind. Many bats use both echolocation and their vision to find their way around and when they are searching for their prey. But not all bats use echolocations (fruit bats don’t), and of those that do, not all use it in the same way. But let’s get back to their vision.

As previously mentioned, bats have small eyes. In most microbat species, the eyes are both small and poorly developed, which means their vision is pretty poor, but no species is completely blind. Although they have poor vision, it is really important when it comes to traveling, as echolocation isn’t effective on long distances.

Megabats, on the other hand, have larger eyes and great eyesight, as good if not even better than that of an average human. They can see both by day and night. These bats don’t have the ability to use echolocation at all, so they have the best vision of all bat species.

While no bats are blind, there are some other mammals that are completely blind, such as the blind mole and the star-nosed mole, so the idiom blind as a mole is a better one.

Why do people say blind as a bat, then?

The origin of idioms is usually a bit of a mystery. It could be that because of the bat’s erratic flying, people thought these animals were blind.

Enjoyed learning about the vision of a bat? Be sure to also read this list of facts about bats.

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