Animal Class >> Mammals

Vampire Bats

Vampire bats feed on blood; there are three species of bats that feed on blood that are Common Vampire Bat, the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat, and the White-winged Vampire Bat. All three species are native to the Americas, ranging from Mexico to Brazil, Chile, and Argentina. They have a short, conical muzzle and has specialized infrared sensors on its nose which aids them in locating an area where the blood flows close to the skin. They have small ears and a short tail membrane. Their front teeth are specialized for cutting and their back teeth are much smaller than in other bats. Their digestive systems are also specialized for their liquid diet. The saliva of vampire bats contains a substance, draculin, which prevents the victim's blood from clotting. They feed mostly on the blood if the mammals and birds. They hunt during night and emit low-energy sound pulses. It can walk and even run at speeds of up to 2.2 meters per second. It weighs 40g yet will consume over 20g (1oz) of blood in a 20 minute feed. Vampire bats live in colonies in almost completely dark places, such as caves, old wells, hollow trees, and buildings. Colonies can range from a single individual to thousands.

Facts about Vampire Bats

  1. These small mammals drink the blood of other animals for survival. They feed on blood from cows, pigs, horses, and birds. Though uncommon, vampire bats even occasionally bite humans for blood.
  2. Vampire bats go for hunting at night.
  3. Rather than sucking blood, vampire bats make a small cut with their teeth and then lap up the flowing blood with their tongues. These bats are so light and agile that they are sometimes able to drink blood from an animal for more than 30 minutes without waking it up. The blood sucking does not hurt the animal.
  4. Unlike some other species of bats, vampire bats can walk, run, and jump. They have very strong hind legs and a special thumb that helps them take off after feeding. Also, heat sensors on their noses help them find a good spot on an animal's body to feed.
  5. If they can't find blood for two nights in a row, they will die. Luckily, female bats can be generous. Well-fed bats will often regurgitate blood to share with others, in exchange for grooming. Female bats in captivity seem especially friendly toward new mothers. After a baby is born, other bats have been observed feeding the mother for about two weeks after the birth.
  6. Vampire bats can spread a disease called rabies. This disease hurts farmers' livestock, especially cattle herds.
  7. However, vampire bats can actually be quite tame, and even friendly to humans. In fact, one researcher reported that he had vampire bats that would come to him when he called their names.

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