Rat Echolocation: Correlations between Object Detection and Click Production

  • Julia Chase
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (volume 28)


The laboratory rat Rattus norvegicus uses a variety of sensory cues to guide its nocturnal movements. Vision, olfaction, touch, and a well-developed spatial memory all aid the rat in orientation and obstacle avoidance. A half century ago, Shepard (1929), Lashley, (1929), and Honzik (1936) found that hearing is also important for orientation when a rat is deprived of visual cues. These experiments were published a decade before the discovery of echolocation in bats and 25 years before the detection of ultrasonic vocalizations in rats (Anderson, 1954) and therefore aroused little interest.


Obstacle Avoidance Sound Production Ultrasonic Vocalization Ambient Noise Level Open Runway 
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  1. Bell, R. W., Noble, M. E., and Davies, W. F., 1971, Echolocation in the blinded rat, Percep. Psychophysics, 10:112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Dunning, D. C., 1975, Orientation by cave-dwelling pack rats, Neotoma floridana magister in the dark, paper presented at the XIV International Ethological Conference, Parma, Italy.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1980

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Chase

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