Bats in Costa Rica Turn Leaves Into Hearing Aids, Use Them to Funnel Sound

Wildlife researchers say this trick helps them keep tabs on their friends

By on October 16th, 2013 17:11 GMT

Wildlife researchers have found that a species of bats living in Costa Rica often turn furled leaves into hearing aids and use them to have an easier time keeping tabs on their friends.

These creatures are known as Spinx's disc-winged bats, Nature reports. Unlike bats belonging to other species, they enjoy living in groups, and it sometimes happens that bats that get along quite nicely stick together for several years in a row.

“They can stay together for many, many years, which is quite rare in bats,” researcher Gloriana Chaverri at the Boston University explains.

By the looks of it, these bats manage to remain this close to one another by using tube-shaped leaves to funnel sound and determine if the creatures that are flying over their heads are friends on strangers.

Thus, researchers say that, when heard from inside the furled leaves, sounds produced by this species of bats are about 10 decibels louder, and therefore easier to recognize.

What's more, the bats inside the leaves are able to hear their companions from further away than they could if they were to rely on their ears alone.

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