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Researchers have discovered that bats have special structures in their brains that allow for sound information to get processed incredibly quickly.
That means the bats that visit our roost above the Visitor Centre each year have extremely acute spatial awareness – far superior to us or any other mammals for that matter!
The research, led by Dr Melville Wohlgemuth, and published in the journal JNeurosci, shows that bats can analyse auditory data (things they hear) so quickly that they can respond immediately by moving their bodies accordingly. This is what enables bats to find and catch their prey so fast.
The study shows that the science behind this skill is because the neurones in their brain that help them process spatial and motor information have been found to be very close together and it’s thought this is what allows them to process the echoes bouncing back so quickly.
There are around 1,000 different bat species, more than there are of any other group of mammal.
At Hestercombe we look forward to seeing two of our favourite species that take up residence here every year when they come to their maternity roosts in the summer - the lesser horseshoe, pipistrelle and brown long- eared bats.
Visitors can watch them on our bat camera and if you’re lucky you might spot the young bats taking their first flight. Enjoy as you witness how they use their special brains and move incredibly quickly to catch their food.