10 Interesting Facts about Vampire Bats

For those who love to watch vampire movie, one of these following facts about vampire bats is going to make you feel more interested in how these bats are living. Bats, as you know, are firmly rooted in Western vmpire lore, but only three species, out of some 1100 in the order Chiroptera, actually have a taste for blood. The vampire bats are the only mammals in the world that live on blood alone, and the unique challenges of that diet make them some of the most specialized, fascinating and downright weird animals that nature has to offer. To get to know more about them, here are some other facts about vampire bats you may like.

Facts about vampire bats 1: Species

The three vampire bat species: the common vampire bat, the hairy-legged vampire bat and the white-winged vampire bat are closely related and grouped together in the subfamily Desmodontinae. Their ranges overlap in parts of Central and South America, so, in what might be an effort to avoid competition with each other, the species specialize in different prey.

Facts about vampire bats 2: Blood-drinkers

Bats that lived on insects or even fruit were assumed to be vampires, and the association stuck when they were scientifically described and saddled with names like Vampyrum spectrum and Pteropus vampyrus. Meanwhile, when a naturalist finally got his hands on an actual vampire, D. Rotundus, no one one believed his assertions that it drank blood, and he made no mention of it in his description.

Facts about vampire bats - Vampire bats

Facts about vampire bats – Vampire bats

Facts about vampire bats 3: Feeding

When the bats feed, they use their teeth to shear away hair or feathers from a small spot and then cut into their victim’s flesh with their sharp incisors. Rather than actively suck the blood from the wound like their namesakes, the bats let the physics of capillary action do the work. They lap at the blood and specialized grooves on their lips, tongues, and/or roof or their mouths suction it up. A protein in the bats’ saliva called a plasminogen activator prevents the blood from clotting and keeps it flowing freely while they drink.

Facts about vampire bats 4: White-winged Vampire Bats

White-winged vampire bats will also take their meals in the trees instead of the barnyard. While a bird roosts on a branch, the bat sneaks up on it from below, crawling along the underside of the branch and staying out of sight. Once it’s directly underneath its prey, the bat bites the bird’s big rear-pointing toe and drinks its fill.

Facts about vampire bats - Baby bats

Facts about vampire bats – Baby bats

Facts about vampire bats 5: Hairy-Legged Bats

The hairy-legged vampire also feeds in the trees, but doesn’t bother with subtlety like its cousin. They’ll often land directly on a bird and hang from its body upside-down with their feet while biting around the bird’s cloaca, the all-purpose entrance and exit for the intestinal, reproductive, and urinary tracts. The maneuver is helped by the bat’s calcar, a bony spur that comes off the ankle bone.

Facts about vampire bats 6: Vampire Bats

Unlike its cousins, the common vampire bat eats solely on the ground, and it has evolved to be as nimble there as it is in flight. While most other bats are awkward crawlers, the common vampire can move with a quick run-like gait or hop along the ground, supporting its weight on its hind legs and using its wings and elongated thumbs to steer and push off of the ground.

Facts about vampire bats - Caught in a Spider's nest

Facts about vampire bats – Caught in a Spider’s nest

Facts about vampire bats 7: Vampire Bats’ Feeding

To meet their energy needs, vampire bats need to drink about an ounce of blood at every meal, meaning they consume half their body weight during each 20 to 30 minute feeding session. Their bodies have adapted to lighten that load, and their stomach lining rapidly absorbs much of the blood’s water content and sends it to the kidneys so it can be excreted.

Facts about vampire bats 8: Baby Bats

Vampires are known to share meals with each other. Mother bats regurgitate previously-drunk blood for their offspring until the babies are old enough to hunt on their own. Other related bats and even unrelated ones have also been observed puking blood up for one another in a reciprocal arrangement.

Facts about vampire bats - Feeding

Facts about vampire bats – Feeding

Facts about vampire bats 9: Tools for Finding Food

Vampire bats have a few different tools for finding their food. They have well-developed senses of smell and, despite bats’ reputation, keen eyesight. They’ve also got heat-seeking faces—their wrinkly, leaf shaped noses are loaded with nerves that are, in turn, loaded with proteins that are sensitive to the infrared radiation given off by warm-blooded animals. They also have finely-tuned hearing and specialized neurons that react only to the sound of breathing.

Facts about vampire bats 10:

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.

Facts about vampire bats - Flying

Facts about vampire bats – Flying

Hope you would find those vampire bats facts really interesting and useful for your knowledge.

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