No excuses! Bats make social distance when they are sick


Aregret of the behavior having already been previously detected in the laboratory, now a team of scientists from Ohio State University, in the United States, observed the same pattern in wild vampire bats in Belize. The unprecedented research was published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, and released by BBC News.

The researchers followed and studied a group of bats that lived inside a tree hollow, placing small proximity sensors in order to understand how these animals interacted socially.

Additionally, the team injected 16 bats with a substância named lipopolissacarídeo, which caused their immune systems to react temporarily as if they were sick.

On tree, lived in total 31 bats, and the other 15 animals were administered injections saline solution that did not interfere with your body.

A interaction decreased

Scientists immediately noticed that sick bats interacted with approximately four fewer bats, compared to healthy animals.

These mammals refused to participate in rituals and reciprocal care, they moved less and were more sleepy.

After 48 hours, the effects of injection disappeared, and by that time bats were as social again as before.

According to the researchers, and as explained by BBC, bats thus decreased the risk of spreading the virus by spending less time with healthy bats.

Research leader Simon Ripperger, calls this behavior ‘distance less passive social ‘and believes that this way of being can be quite common among various animal species after all, and not only in bats.

“The sensors gave us a new and surprising window into how the social behavior of these bats changed from hour to hour and even from minute to minute during the day and night, even while they were hiding in the darkness of a tree hollow “, told Ripperger at BBC News.

‘Passive social detachment’ is comparable to when human beings remain in bed when they feel bad, rather than being close to other individuals.

Also Read: Social distancing. Distance of 2 meters is not enough, warns study

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