Several animals are known to be intelligent and have incredible memories. Dolphins, monkeys, and dogs are some of the more commonly known and documented animals that are smart and have a good memory. Now new studies show that bats should be added to the list.
Fringe-lipped bats (Trachops cirrhosus) are best known for their frog-eating habits, so they are also often called frog-eating bats. They are found in the tropical forests of South and Central America, and, like any other bats, prefer to roost in caves, trees, and sometimes even in suburban buildings. Although they are called frog-eating bats, their diet also includes a large selection of insects and small lizards.
Researchers say that fringe-lipped bats are capable of learning the sound of a dinner bell and then remembering it years later. These bats are so intelligent that they use their hearing abilities to wait and eavesdrop on frog mating calls and use the sound to locate and hunt them.
An experiment from previous studies, dating back as early as 2011, was done to train bats to associate food rewards with a certain sound, and they found out that fringed-lipped bats store information as long-term memories so that they won’t need to relearn it each time in new situations. In newer experiments, researchers used a similar tone and presented it to the same bats, and they were able to observe that the bats had a much higher response rate to the familiar sound, implying that they remembered the correlation between food and the sound.
A study from 2022 showed more evidence of the frog-eating bats’ long-term memory capabilities. Marjorie Dixon, author of the study, and her team caught and trained 49 wild bats to find prey. Like in their previous study, they used a certain sound to lure the bats to find food. They then released the bats into the wild and captured them again 1-4 years later in order to run the experiment again.
“When re-tested, all eight ‘experienced’ bats that previously learned the novel prey sounds flew to those sounds within seconds, whereas 17 naïve bats tested with the same sounds showed weak responses,” the researchers stated.
Rachel Page, a Smithsonian scientist, did similar experiments with this species and eloquently said that the reason why experiments such as this are important is that, “in terms of conservation, we can’t preserve the natural history that surrounds us without knowing more about it.”
Watch her experiment in the video below.
Check out another weird-looking bat in this article.Whizzco