Just like all other animals, bats need water to survive. So, if we were to answer the first questions, we would say that bats definitely drink water. However, figuring out how bats drink may be a bit more difficult, and at the same time, very interesting.
As a bat flies through the night sky, it becomes thirsty. The way that a bat finds and drinks water is quite interesting. As it flies, the bat will send out high pitched squeaks. Then, it will listen for the returning echoes, trying to identify a specific pattern. When the bats hears no echoes coming from up ahead, and instead, it hears echoes reflected back that are coming from straight below, it will know that it is flying over water. This echo will only happen when the bat is flying over a flat, smooth surface, such as the top of a body of water like a lake or a pond. When this happens, the bat will dive in, open its mouth, and take a sip of the refreshing water.
They way that bats detect and drink water may seem like a complicated process, but for them, it comes instinctively. Bats do not need to learn this skill; it is innate. First, they will try to detect water. Then, they will dive in. Finally, they will open their mouths and take a sip.
However, using this method, bats will face a problem. In nature, the only large and smooth surface is a body of water. To find water, bats will use a unique feature, the fact that the waves of sound that hit a surface of still water will bounce away in general, except for the sounds aimed straight downwards. That is why, bats will send squeaks and listen for the bouncing echoes. However, in the man-made world, there are other smooth surface like metal and plastic that have the same properties like water. This will confuse bats, and they will try to drink out of metal. This would raise some concerns since the bats may suffer from injuries.
Of course, bats will use other senses, such as sight, to determine the place of water. Nevertheless, they will mainly depend of the sound of the returned echo. The echo patterns will dominate information from other senses. This shows how much echolocation is important for bats.
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