Have you ever been somewhere noisy and had to shout to be heard? Imagine having to speak at that volume all day. Would you feel more tired if you shouted all the time or spoke at a normal volume?
Bats are very unusual animals because they can use sound to see at night. Bats use very loud echolocation to hear tiny insects that are far away, but their calls are at a frequency that we cannot hear. In fact, bats are some of the loudest animals on Earth. Being louder means they can find insects more easily in the dark, but most bats don’t “shout” louder than a certain level.
We wanted to find out if this is because bats use more energy when echolocating louder. To do this, we recorded and analyzed the calls of bats while they were flying. We then studied how much energy they were using.