Old 11-17-2003, 04:04 PM
ParthianRepublic ParthianRepublic is offline
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Washington, DC
Posts: 1
Bats turn left?

I received an email with a list of whacky "facts", one of which was: "Bats always turn left when exiting a cave!" I replied to all that I thought this was hooey. However, when I searched the web for someone who has debunked this myth, I only found the same assertion repeated over and over - generally on lists of whacky facts.

We have all seen video of millions of bats exiting a cave at dusk, and it seems to me they fly every which way - so I continue to say: "Hooey!"

Can someone point me to a respectable source that either backs me up or shoots me down?
Old 11-17-2003, 04:50 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
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This is most likely one of those dopey factoids that is difficult to shoot down because it's so dopey scientists don't even bother to make definite statements about it.

A good source of information and links on bats is Bat Conservation International

If you really want to track it down, I would suggest sending an e-mail to batinfo@batcon.org, or alternatively to BCI's Science Officer, listed on the Staff page.
Old 11-17-2003, 05:28 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 22,852
It's true of, say, Carlsbad Caverns... Because the cave itself corkscrews to the left as you climb out of it... I'm reasonably sure that, given a cave with a right-hand twist, any bats flying out of it would veer that way.

("Deprived of that freedom, for which we must fight:
to veer to the left or to veer to the right."
Flanders & Swann)

Old 11-17-2003, 07:18 PM
ltfire ltfire is offline
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Location: E 161 St. and River Ave.
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When Bruce Wayne leaves the bat cave, there's a LEFT TURN ONLY sign.
Old 11-17-2003, 08:24 PM
doctordoowop doctordoowop is offline
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Location: Calif
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Bats must be baseball fans-all know to bat lefthanded is best.
Old 11-18-2003, 04:59 AM
MarkD MarkD is offline
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Location: NY
Posts: 75
My left or the bat's left?
Old 11-18-2003, 12:05 PM
Max Carnage Max Carnage is offline
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You know a bat's quack doesn't echo, and no one knows why!
Old 11-18-2003, 12:48 PM
bayonet1976 bayonet1976 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 890
No scientific proof, just anecdotal. I grew up near an old, old building, which housed a very healthy and thriving bat colony. Every evening right around sunset bats would stream out of the eaves of this building from a couple of locations. And when I say stream, I mean stream, it was a veritable river of bats coming out. Since this was a in a rather small town, with very little do for entertainment, a favorite pastime in our neighborhood would be to stand directly in front of these exit points, and let the bats rush around us. Once in a while we'd get hit, but for the most part the bats avoided us. From that position it was clear to me that these bats were exiting in a fan pattern, left, right and center, with occasional spurts up or down.

This was in Cuba, so it was very probably Molossus molossus tropidorhynchus.
Old 11-18-2003, 12:52 PM
Ilsa_Lund Ilsa_Lund is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
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If a bat leaves a cave and turns left, does it's sonar echo?
Old 11-18-2003, 12:58 PM
Tapioca Dextrin Tapioca Dextrin is offline
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Posts: 11,874
I'm sure all the other Austin Dopers will back me up on this, but the bats of Congress Bridge turn right, left and all angles in between.
Old 11-18-2003, 04:25 PM
Vezer Vezer is offline
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Harlingen, TX+Bham, AL
Posts: 166
It's quite beautiful to see, I recommend it as a thing for all to watch before they die. Now its been some years, but I don't recall Cloud Croft bats veering any particular war. Just a grand rush with the beating of wings and high pitched noises. Call me crazy but I strictly recall them veering right into the nights harvest!
Old 11-18-2003, 08:09 PM
Scruloose Scruloose is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Glenview, IL
Posts: 2,268
Bats only turn left in the Northern hemisphere. In the Southern hemisphere, they turn right. Coriolis effect, and all that.



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