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Page last updated at 08:44 GMT, Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Traffic noise is 'bad for bats'

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Traffic noise reduces bats' ability to locate their prey, say scientists.

A team of researchers in Germany found that road noise affected greater mouse-eared bats' ability to hear the "rustling sound" of beetles and spiders on which they feed.

This footage shows the flight room the scientists designed for their experiment.

Here, the bat locates the rustling sound, which is being played from a speaker in one of the 64 plates on the floor, and picks up a food reward.

The scientists played traffic noise of varying intensity into the flight room to test the bats' foraging behaviour.

When the traffic noise was most intense, bats took five times longer to locate their prey.

Footage courtesy of Bjorn Siemers from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology

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