Do Bats Avoid Light?

Bats and lights

When you think about it, the common belief that bats avoid light seems logical to the lesser informed masses. Even if you know that bats arent blind (Yes, theyre not blind. More on that later), their nocturnal habits and reliance on echolocation to hunt and navigate their surroundings, does give one the impression that bats are one species that wouldnt want anything to do with light. 

And you wouldnt be wrong. Despite the trend, sometimes preconceived notions are true. Bats really do avoid light, be it natural or artificial, but not entirely for the reasons mentioned above.

Why bats avoid lights

As mentioned before, bats arent blind. Their eyesight is pretty good, which is why most bats use it in combination with their echolocation ability to hunt for prey and navigate their surroundings. The trouble with their eyesight, however, isnt the lack of it, but its oversensitivity: at night their vision is better than most other animals in the vicinity, but the trade-off is an extreme intolerance to light which makes their vision completely useless and more often than not a hindrance in the daytime. As a result, a bat introduced in bright light would behave as if it was blind, which would make them easy prey for any predator in the area.

The measure they take to avoid light

Fortunately for bats, theyre aware of this crippling disadvantage in areas with bright light and actively take steps to avoid contact with it. While their nocturnal behaviour means they wont have to deal with daylight unless necessary, they also take some steps to avoid human-made sources of light at night like street lamps, often taking alternate routes to their destination to avoid an area lit up by these lamps. 

The only scenario where a bat would actively try to get near a light source is in the case of an ultraviolet lamp, but only because they attract scores of insects which a bat would try to take advantage of. And even then, its only the fast-flying bats that would bother to go near these lamps in the first place.

How light can be used as a weapon against Bats

Knowing bats dont prefer light can be useful if youre trying to get them out of your house, like if theyve occupied your attic. Placing a bright light inside an attic and making sure it completely illuminates space would be a great way to get bats out. Why? Its cost-effective, easy to set up and doesnt harm the bats in the process, only drives them out. So its worth a try.

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