Vampire Bat

vampire bat

Vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus) live in Mexico and Central and South America and feed on the blood of birds and other animals. It certainly is a threatening looking little animal, but is only looking for a meal to survive just like you and I.

Vampire bats are nocturnal animals and usually live in groups in dark places, such as hollow trees, caves, or abandoned buildings.

The vampire bat uses its sharp teeth to open the skin on the animal to feed on its blood. Its teeth are so sharp that the victim often doesn't even notice that it has been bitten.

Vampire bats are blind and find their way around by echolocation - bats make sounds that are reflected back to them and they can locate the position of objects by the echo. They also have heat sensors in their nose so they can locate prey and blood that is close to the skin's surface so they can drink the animal's blood. Vampire bats typically feed only on sleeping animals, including humans.

Vampire bats have an anticoagulant in their saliva that keeps the victim's blood from clotting. After the initial bite, the bat drinks the blood of the sleeping animal. Because their teeth are so sharp the victim usually doesn't feel the bite and they don't wake up.

The vampire bat's feeding behavior doesn't kill the victim, but vampire bats often carry rabies. It is the threat of rabies that is the real danger from being bitten by a vampire bat.

Often, sleeping humans are bitten by vampire bats, but don't realize it and so they don't get treated for rabies until it is too late to be treated.

Vampire bats get a bad rap because of their feeding behavior and the threat of rabies, but scientists think that the anticoagulant sustance in their saliva may be useful for treating heart disease and stroke in humans.

For a demonstration of vampire bats feeding on a sleeping pig, watch the You Tube video below.

I actually think the bats are sort of cute.

Vampire bats are not on the threatened or endangered species list at this time.