Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine
Are there any animals that can see Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals? © Getty Images

Are there any animals that can see Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signals?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Asked by: Chris McMullon, Barnham, West Sussex

Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are radio signals with a wavelength of 6cm to 12.5cm. This is about 100,000 times longer than the wavelengths of visible light that humans can see. Many animals, including vampire bats and certain fish and snake species, are able to sense infrared radiation, but this only goes up to wavelengths of 1mm.


Longer wavelengths carry much less energy and can’t be detected without some kind of resonator to amplify the signal. In 2009, the French virologist Luc Montagnier claimed that bacterial DNA can emit radio waves, but his results were met with widespread criticism from the scientific community, and have not been replicated. So to date, we don’t know of any organisms that can detect or communicate with radio frequency signals.

Read more:



luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


Sponsored content