The vampire bat is true to its name. This type of bat is a real vampire. The vampire bat feeds on blood, thus cutting into the prey’s skin and then licking blood from there. The vampire bat is a mammal, there are nearly 1,000 species of bats, which is a quarter of all the world’s mammals.
Facts about the vampire bat
|Location:||North, Central and South America|
|Life expectancy:||12 years|
|Size:||7-9.5 centimeters long|
|Food:||Blood from animals and humans|
|Fun fact:||Vampire bats are a sympathetic animal that spews blood out to their children and friends who have not received as much “food”|
The vampire bat is a small animal, it is approx. the size of a human thumb. The bat’s back is brownish gray, while its belly is light. The bat has wings with a wingspan of 35-40 centimeters, which is actively used. It can therefore move its wings up and down like birds. The body is 7-9.5 centimeters long, weighing 19-45 grams. The male is slightly larger than the female. The vampire bat’s best weapon is its front teeth and canines. These teeth are just as sharp as razor blades. The sharp teeth are used to cut holes in the skin of the prey. The prey rarely notices when the bat cuts a hole in it because its teeth are so sharp.
The vampire bat feeds exclusively on blood. They suck blood from many different animals, including animals such as horses, cattle, donkeys, chickens and turkeys. The vampire bat can also easily eat blood for humans, and is not picky in that sense. The bat often stays within 5-8 kilometers of their hiding place when searching for food. A population of 100-150 bats can eat blood from about 1,200 domestic animals. When the sun goes down, the bat goes hunting and flies across the earth at a height of 1 meter. When the bat finds its prey, it lands next to the animal and crawls up on the animal. The vampire bat’s heat sensors in the nose allow it to smell where the prey’s blood vessels are close to the skin. Then it cuts a hole in the prey’s skin and starts licking. This process does not hurt the prey. It licks about 20 to 25 ml of blood a day.
The female vampire bat is pregnant for about 7 months and usually gives birth to only one young. When the baby comes out, it weighs approx. 7 grams, and is well developed with open eyes. The baby sucks with its mother until it is 9-10 months old. When the baby is 2 months old, it also starts eating blood. From the baby is 2 months old until it is 4 months old, the mother vomits blood up to the baby. It can then suck blood from prey itself. Both females and males become sexually mature when they are about 10 to 12 months old.
Vampire bats are herd animals, they live either in small groups or in large herds of up to 2,000 bats. Most flocks are 20 to 200 bats. A herd typically consists of females with their young, where old males prefer to live alone. Vampire bats are one of the few species that can exhibit selfless social behavior. For example, if they have been lucky on the night hunt and got massaged blood and other herd members have not, they can vomit blood up to them and thus share their catch. Near the herd consisting of females and young, one male lives, mating with the females.
The vampire bat is a mammal that belongs to the bat order. The bat order is a very large group, comprising almost a quarter of all the world’s species of mammals. There are a total of 977 bat species, which are divided into 18 groups – so-called families. The vampire bat belongs to the large family of bats called “leaf noses”. This family counts 145 different species of bats. Only three species out of 997 species of bats eat blood. In general, bats are very harmless and peaceful animals that stay in the dark for themselves.
Travelers’ questions about the vampire bat
Can the vampire bat suck too much blood?
It happens that the vampire bat has simply licked too much blood, it instead begins to suck the blood out of the prey. It sometimes happens that it becomes too heavy to fly back to its hiding place. Therefore, it must crawl to a hiding place where it can digest all the blood it has licked. Once it has digested all the blood it has ingested, it flies back to its hiding place again.
Is the vampire bat a pest?
Yes, the vampire bat is a pest.
The reason the vampire bat is a pest is that it can transmit canine rabies also called rabies to prey. It is not only for prey, it can transmit rabies to. It is also for humans. The vampire bat transmits the virus from other animals, which it passes on to others when it has sucked blood from a new prey. It works a bit in the same way as the malaria mosquito, which also poses a great risk because it is a carrier of malaria. Rabies is a disease that you die of if you are not treated extremely quickly after a bite. Each year, more than 100,000 cattle die due to rabies they have received from the vampire bat.
Communicate the vampire bat?
Yes, vampire bats communicate via ultrasound – which we humans cannot hear.
Vampire bats scream incredibly loud, but we humans can’t hear it at all. These sounds are called ultrasounds. Ultrasounds are sounds that are in a very high pitch, which is above 20,000 Hz. Bats use their cries when flying at night, they do so when orienting themselves and when hunting. This is called echo orientation. This means that when the vampire bat hunts, it emits rays of ultrasound out through the nose, which are some special nostrils. When the ultrasound hits the prey, the sound is thrown back to the bat again, exactly like an echo. When the sound reaches the bat’s sensitive ears, the bat can assess the distance to the prey and find out where the prey is. It depends on how fast the rays come back. In addition to the distance, it can also assess how big the prey is.