Ever wondered why you never see bats flying in the rain? Well, maybe you’ve seen some skimming through trees in parks on light rain, but that’s probably the most you’ll see. A new study published in Biology Letters yesterday tries to shed some light on why this exactly happens, the answer being that they have to burn more energy during rain.
For years it was thought that the main reason bats don’t fly in the rain is because the mass of rain droplets are obstructing their flight. As part of a series of trials in Costa Rica, scientists studied Sowell’s short-tailed fruit bats, which they exposed to rain like effects. They observed the rain itself though it’s droplets mass didn’t affect the bat’s mechanical flying behavior whatsoever. What made it really hard for them, however, was the fact their fur and wings were wet, and like most mammals, bats have to keep themselves warm by patting harder, coupled with the fact that water is mussing their silky fur and dampening their wings, bedraggled bats might also be less aerodynamic.
Enjoyed this article? Join 40,000+ subscribers to the ZME Science newsletter. Subscribe now!