Babblin’ Baby Bats

Who’s my widdle-bitty-batty baby?

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science, saying…BAT got your tongue?

You’ve heard it! A change in pitch and EXAGGERATED expression – it’s baby talk. For humans, baby talk is important for speech development. BUT what if you’re a BAT?

Meet Ahana Fernandez from the Free University of Berlin. She explored how mother bats vocalize to their growing pups and other adult bats! Fernandez recorded bat calls within nests in Central America over three summers. She used special equipment to collect and study the tone and pitch of bat calls.

And? Mother bats consistently use a different voice when calling to pups compared to other adults! Mom-to-pup calls were at a lower frequency and used a different pitch and tone. It’s a form of batty baby talk! 

Humans aren’t the only ones needing communication during development. Mother bats may help growing pups develop their own calls. Baby talk is important – even for youngsters who hang upside down!

Wonder what a batty lullaby sounds like…?