Moodzie believes vampire bats are a very cool and unique kind of mammal, as bats themselves are the only mammals that can fly, vampire bats can also fly, but they also happen to be the only mammals that entirely feed on blood. Sounds a little scary, as these vampire bats are notorious for being mammals of the complete dark, as they typically sleep during the day in complete darkness usually hanging upside down within a cave, when it is night time, the bats usually go out and look to feed. Vampire bats normally travel and stay within groups usually around a size of 100 bats, sometimes they have been known to be in larger groups of nearing a 1000 vampire bats.

Usually around the darkest hours, the bats will go on looking for blood literally, and their most common victims are cows, sheep, or cattle, at times they have been known to attack humans as well, however Moodzie would also like to state that usually their bites are not that harmful alone, but at times they can cause infections or diseases later on, thus if one was bitten by a vampire bite, they certainly should go out and seek some medical care. Vampire bats have unique senses that happen to be razor sharp, as when seeking prey they know exactly where to attack, and where exactly the blood is flowing, Moodzie surely finds this a little scary and cool at the same time.

Vampire bats, unlike other bats do not attack from the air but rather on ground, as usually they lay near the victim and typically in groups and from there they attack the person/animal. Vampire bats unlike other mammals do not possess a lot of teeth, however the teeth they do possess are very sharp and can certainly go deep into one’s skin. Baby vampire bats, usually under the age of 3 months, do not feed on blood, as they inly feed on milk from their mothers, and once they get older and trained they begin to feed on blood as well. Moodzie realizes vampire bats sound more scary then cool, however they are not heavily populated, and usually only live in areas with minimal populations, as they are typically found in the forests or farms of Central America or South America, and within more tropical places.

Overall, Moodzie just loves hanging around with bats! Learn all about vampire bats and also what impacts them in their natural habitat.

Vampire Bat Species:

There are three species of vampire bats native to the Rainforests in southern Mexico, Central America and South America. They include the:

  • Common Vampire Bat
  • Hairy-legged Vampire Bat
  • White Winged Vampire Bat

Habitat:

  1. Usually they are found in the tropics and sub-tropics where livestock densities are high.
  2. Habitat also includes desert areas, scrub and rainforests.
  3. They tend to live in dark caves and like warm, humid areas that are very dark.
  4. Vampire bats don’t migrate in search of food. Where bats live is dependent on the availability of food. Nor do they hibernate when food is scarce.

Characteristics:

  1. Vampire bats are mammals with wings that have a very similar bone structure to the human hand. They also have a short tail membrane, small ears and conical muzzle.
  2. They have dark brown to grey furry bodies with a lighter underside.
  3. A vampire bats front teeth are specialised for cutting and their back teeth are much smaller than in other bats.
  4. Weight: 2 oz (57g). This will vary as they can double in size after one feeding.
  5. Length: Body, 3.5 inches (9 cm).
  6. Wingspan depends on the species. Common vampire bats have a wingspan of about 12-13 inches (30-33cm).
  7. Lifespan: About 9 years in the wild and 30 years in captivity.

Diet:

  1. Vampire bats have a completely liquid diet of blood.
  2. In the dark of the night, carnivorous vampire bats hunt by using echolocation, (use of ultra-high frequency sounds for navigation) and smell and sound.
  3. They drink one to two tablespoons per night of blood from sleeping cattle, cows, pigs and horses. (Approx. 20 minutes)
  4. They use special heat sensors in their noses to find veins that are close to the skin. Once biting, the vampire bat will use its tongue to consume the flowing blood. Their digestive systems are also specialised for their liquid diets. Their saliva has an anticoagulant that stops the victims blood from clotting so they are able to lap blood, rather than suck it.
  5. Once fed, bats will only take flight after they have digested their meal as they are too heavy.
  6. New born bats will drink their mother’s milk for 3 months.

Special Features:

  1. Roost during the day in total darkness, suspended in an upside down position from the roof of warm, humid caves, hollow trees and crevices of abandoned buildings.
  2. Live and gather in colonies of between 100 to 1000 bats or more.
  3. Bats cannot stand upright because they have very small pelvic girdles. They hang upside down nearly all the time, including when they are eating, drinking and socializing.
  4. Bats usually have one baby once a year and some commonly have twins.
  5. The role of bats within tropical forests is one that is both irreplaceable and crucial to these unique and diverse ecosystems. Bats are efficient at dispersing quality seeds.

Myths:

Myth 1: Bats are blind.

Fact: Bats use echolocation to navigate, however, they can still see.

Myth 2:  Bats attack people.

Fact: Bats do not attack people. They are afraid of humans and will avoid them when possible.

Myth 3:  Vampire bats suck blood.

Fact:  Vampire bats will lick and drink the blood of sleeping animals who often don’t even wake up.

Myth 3:  Bats are useless pests.

Fact:  Vampire bats help to reseed deforested land, control insects and pollinate plants. The study of bats has revealed vital insights into echolocation and sonar. Anticoagulants have lead to the prevention of blood clots in the medical field. Bats guano (feaces) has been used as a fertilizer and making gasohol, a bacteria to improve soaps and antibiotics.

Impacts:

Fencing:

Use wildlife-friendly fencing options so that vampire bats don’t become caught on barbwire fences.

Habitat Loss and Destruction:

  • The destruction of habitat for housing, roads or agriculture, threatens the survival of the animals.
  • Habitat protection and restoration is crucial.
  • Education, communication and community action is required to help the animals.
  • For the animals to survive in a habitat, it is important to care for the area. Weed control, re-vegetation and protection from development are important initiatives that
  • help vampire bats survive in their natural habitat.
  • Improved legislation to protect habitat and connectivity, particularly in coastal areas with urban development, is required. Better legislation and
  • enforcement to prevent land clearing of critical habitat is essential.

Predators:

  • Hand feeding can make vampire bats become dependent on humans for being fed. In addition, humans can kill many bats. It is important to ban shooting from farmers.
  • Cats can be predators of bats by directly attacking them, causing injury or death.
  • Other predators include eagles and hawks that can also be active at night.
  • It is important to establish strategies to control domestic and feral animals.

Negative Public Image:

Unfortunately, bats have a negative public image. It is vitally important to establish education programmes that involve the community meeting the bats. Experienced handlers are required to hold the bats to prevent injury and the possible spread of disease.

Natural disasters and accidents:

  • Catastrophic effects such as drought, fire, cyclones and hurricanes can devastate habitats and the food supply for the animals.
    Accidents during flight can occur, such as flying into buildings with wind gusts.

Common Vampire Bat | National Geographic

Find out who’s on the menu for vampire bats, the only mammals that can fly and the only ones that survive on blood.

Vampire Bat

Photo taken by Ltshears. The Vampire Bat is a fascinating creature, and one that has been involved with legends for centuries. This particular species of bat features a short muzzle that is cone shaped. They have a very small tail and they also have small ears. They don’t weigh more than about two ounces.

7 things you didn’t know about vampire bats

Long before Spanish Conquistadors and Christopher Columbus returned to Europe with stories of blood-sipping bats, European communities were telling tales of undead monsters called vampires. But the vampire bat itself is hardly the agent of evil its association with Dracula would suggest. Here are seven things you may not have known about these creatures.

Heart Felt thanks to:

Organization for Bat Conservation

Cranbrook Institute of Science for providing the factual information & bat photos

Discover more about bats and how you can help them: