Echolocation is a method of sensory perception by which certain animals orient themselves to their surroundings, detect obstacles, communicate with others, and find food.

During echolocation a series of short, high-pitched sounds are emitted by an animal. These sounds travel out away from the animal and then bounce off objects and surfaces in the animal's path creating an echo. The echo returns to the animal, giving it a sense about what is in its path. A bat can determine an object's size, shape, direction, distance, and motion. This echolocation system is so accurate that bats can detect insects the size of gnats and objects as fine as a human hair. Scientists would like to know more about how bats use echolocation so they can help blind people detect objects with sound.

Image of Echolocation

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Diagram of Echolocation

For Teachers Students Doing Research Report Resources Bats Out of Your House

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