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Israeli scientists discover how bat moms teach young to navigate

17 10 4

Tiny sensors attached to Egyptian fruit bats have enabled Tel Aviv University researchers to understand for the first time how bat mothers teach their pups to navigate.

Initially, the pup flies with the mother — suspended upside down, eyes open, and suckling — as she forages for food.

When junior reaches three weeks, mom starts to drop it off every night at the same tree, located within a kilometer of their home cave.

She leaves the pup at the tree — usually an evergreen one for maximum camouflage — either alone or with other bat babies. She will pop back during the night to provide a quick feed before flying off again to forage, finally returning to the tree to pick baby up and get home before sunrise.

Gradually, the pup starts to experiment by flying from the “nursery” to nearby trees, gaining confidence, and flying ever farther, before returning to wait for the mother.

As the pup grows bigger, heavier, and harder to carry, mom drops it at a tree closer to the cave.

On reaching eight to ten weeks, the pup leaves the cave alone and flies independently, starting at sites it........

© The Times of Israel

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