Same bat GRRR channel ROWF
September 27, 2011 7:54 PM   Subscribe

Duffy was agitated tonight when we were watching the bats at sunset. Was he agitated because he could hear them?

We love to watch stars and bats, depending on when dinner ends. Tonight it was bats. There were plenty of them. Duffy was quite Busy, barking quite a bit (which is unusual for him). Could he have been hearing the ultrasonic ranging bats emit?
posted by jet_silver to Pets & Animals (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
My google search says possibly. Humans hear 20 Hz - 20,000 Hz, while dogs hear 40 Hz - 46,000 Hz. Bats produce frequencies of 40,000 Hz - 100,000 Hz.
posted by coolsara at 8:12 PM on September 27, 2011


wouldn't surprise me if he was hearing them.... and, what a cute pup.. made me smile..!

Make sure the rabies shots are up to date...!
posted by HuronBob at 9:21 PM on September 27, 2011


Bats also click their tongues and produce a sound that can drop down low enough for me to hear it on a quiet night, so I am going to say yes, the dog can hear the bats.
posted by Pink Fuzzy Bunny at 9:37 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


He also could have smelled them. I imagine any of many possible combinations of high-pitched sounds, guano odor, and fluttering little creatures would set off a dog.

You could ask him.
posted by Horselover Phattie at 10:38 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Let me expand on coolsara's guess: he certainly can hear some of their vocalizations.

The cutoff of an animal's hearing range isn't a hard line; in filter theory it's typically expressed as the half-power ("3 dB") point. So, if a bat is chirping, and 1 microwatt of that power is in the 40-44 kHz range, a "nominal" dog would hear that sound half as loudly as it would hear a bat "singing bass" at 10-11 kHz... but still would certainly hear it.

Similarly, humans can sometimes hear bats, albeit less well than dogs do, especially children, whose hearing ranges extend higher than older humans.
posted by IAmBroom at 11:20 PM on September 27, 2011


Let me expand on Huron Bob's comment----OMG that first picture of your pup is especially freakin' adorable.

And to make this a legitimate comment, let me answer your question: I have absolutely no content knowledge on this--but what the others have said sounds reasonable.
posted by vitabellosi at 5:52 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Duffy looks like a Border Collie. I have experience with that breed and other herding dogs.

Is it possible that Duffy could see the bats? Could be be "yelling" at them and trying to herd them? My German Shepherd wants to herd anything she comes across and can get vocal if the group is ignoring or resisting her. I think she might have some kind of herding OCD, she wants everything in nice little groups.

If she doesn't want to herd it she wants to play with it. Was the barking a concerned, growly barking or was it excited, playful yipping? Was he acting excited scared or excited interested?
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:25 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even if he didn't hear their vocalizations (which is quite possible) I'm sure he heard the speedy, erratic fluttering of their wings. I often do, when I'm out in the yard on a quiet night. It makes ME want to bark, I'm sure it would set Duffy off.

He could probably see them and smell them, as well. I'm sure they really set off his prey drive, like aerial squirrels or something!
posted by ErikaB at 11:58 AM on September 28, 2011


Yes, Duffy's a border collie. He loves to herd anything (he used to try it with quail) but when he does that he makes very little noise and uses a certain smooth trot to move around. Last night he galloped (wrong gait) and gave the "You get away!" bark several times. It is consistent with how he behaves with crows. What alerts him to crows is the croaking and the swooshing noise they make when they flap.

He does have a pretty good nose but these bats were fairly high so I'm going to stick with the ultrasonics or the clicking he was hearing. His vision is not so good any longer but he is very sound-sensitive and that doesn't seem to have eroded the way his vision has.

Thank you, folks.
posted by jet_silver at 5:32 PM on September 28, 2011


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