Vampire Bats Facts And Myths
Vampire bats or bats-vampires (Desmodontinae) are subfamily of bats that drink blood. There are three genus with only one species of vampire bats.
Its body has a length of 65-95 mm and weigh between 15 and 50 grams. The wingspan of the common vampire bat (Desmodus rotundus) is 35 to 40 cm.
They have small, sharp front teeth, red and short tongueswith which lick the skin of the victim, large ears and flattened noses.
They are covered with a short brownish-gray hair, but the hair on the belly is white. On their short legs they have five fingers and their legs have no hair.
Vampire bats do not drink – they lick blood. It is wrong to claim that some vampire bats are drinking blood. They usually land on some domestic or wild animal (cow, horses, pigs, chickens, tapers, birds …).
First, they lick the skin of the animal to clear it, then bruise the skin with its sharp front teeth and create a small wound from which they lick the blood.
Their saliva contains an anticoagulant which allows the smooth flow of blood without the blood clotting. Animals most often do not even feel it. Usually drinks very little blood, only 20 ml.
Way of life
Vampire bats have no special environmental requirements. They live in warmer regions but also in humid and dry areas. These are night-time animals, and they use the caves primarily for sleep, but can also be found in the cavities of trees, mines with various ditches or abandoned buildings.
These species live in groups of up to 100 individuals. All three types of vampire bats have developed socialized behavior, but this development in common vampire bats went farther – they vomit the blood that they share with less successful individuals.
Risk of loss of blood after they bite is very low, significantly greater is rabies infection. As one single night they can “visit” a variety of animals and some of them can be infected, the feeding of these bats is a danger to their victims.
How do they find blood
Vampire bats have nervous heat-sensing cells that reveal their possible meal. These detectors find places where the blood of their victims flows nearest to the skin, allowing them the most efficient feeding.
Vampire bats, along with a few snakes, fall into a small group of animals “armed” with infrared sensors, but their technique is unique.
Common vampire bats Desmodus rotundus, which inhabit the warm regions of Central and South America, every night should drink at least one meal of blood to survive.
They believe that their victims are exposed only by the sound of breathing. When they find an animal, crawling on the ground and then climb on it. Their detectors are capable of detecting blood at 20 cm below the skin.