Fruit Bats use internal maps to navigate

August 17th, 2011 - 7:10 pm ICT by Aishwarya Bhatt  

Jerusalem, Aug 17 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Scientists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have identified that the Egyptian fruit bats are naturally equipped with internal compass and visual maps that makes it possible for them to locate their homes and areas of feeding. The researchers placed tiny GPS devices on the animals as they carried out the study. The devices attached to the animals are considered the tinniest GPS machines in the world.

The Egyptian fruits bats or the Egyptian Rousettes travel several kilometers each night in search of fruit. The animals always make it back to their colony and scientists have wondered how they manage to do so successfully every night. The species are found in several parts of Africa and the Middle East.

The scientists inserted tiny GPS devices on the bats which weigh just 10 grams. The animals were tracked from their location near the Israeli city of Beit Shemesh. The researchers tracked as the animals travelled between 12 and 25km every night to go and feed each night.

Scientists ruled out the use of scent for navigation in the birds because the animals always made it to the same cave even when there were caves with similar trees. The animals always travelled in a straight line each night that they took a flight. This got the scientists to conclude that the animals have in-built navigation system that shows them exactly where they are going from their current location.

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