The vampire bat is barely an agent of evil that its association with Dracula would suggest. Here are 10 interesting facts about vampire bats.
Vampire bats are incredibly small. The length of their head and body is generally two to three inches and they weigh two ounces at the most. The wingspan of these bats spans 8 inches.
The bats were named after vampires, and it was not the other way around. Mythologies about vampires existed long before the bats got their name. In 1810, vampire bats were officially described in scientific literature and were documented in 1839 by Darwin. However, the release of Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1897 was the one to solidify the relationship between bats and vampires in to Western culture.
Vampire bats are able to feed on a wide variety of animals including biting porcupines, snakes, penguins, armadillos and even sea lions. However, livestock and birds are their mainstays when it comes to feeding. Although rare, vampire bats also fancy a bite out of humans when given the chance. Careful when you’re sleeping outside in the territory of vampire bats!
Contrary to their association with vampires, vampire bats do not suck blood. They lap it up, almost like a cat, when successful with their hunt. They incise near an artery of their prey with their sharp teeth, before licking up the blood that trickles down.
Vampire bats have numerous skills to aid in their hunt for food. One of these includes infrared perception in their nose which acts as a heat sensor. This enables them to locate blood vessels close to the surface of their host. In addition, they see the world through sound as they have echolocation! This means they can navigate around in complete darkness using their inbuilt sonar!
These spectacular bats can be found all over America. They’ll make their homes (roosts) include mines, caves, hollow trees, and buildings that are abandoned. They can live in high altitudes of up to 7,800 feet.
A male bat will mate all year round, and the gestation period for a female is seven months.
They spend the hours in the day sleeping upside down. In addition to protection, sleeping in this position allows them to take off in flight (as they cannot lift their wings when in an upright position).
These are the only bats that adopt offspring. If a female vampire bat with an offspring goes hunting and does not return after a while, other female bats will take care of the offspring until it is old enough to take care of its self. This care includes feeding and grooming.
Vampire bats are extremely social animals. They share a strong bond with their colonies, and they have been observed to share meals.
Do you have any fun or interesting facts about vampire bats you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments section below!