Move Over, Bela. We’re for Real!

bat
www.conservationcentre.org

What exactly do we know about Desmodus Rotundus? We know they are commonly called Vampire Bats, because their food source is a little unusual – blood.

These creatures are plentiful mostly in Mexico and South America, and their distinctive, razor-sharp incisors and canines make them appear a little scary. To some, they are as frightening as they look. These bats cannot live longer than two days without a meal of fresh blood.

Most bats are fruit eaters, with no ability to maneuver on land. The vampire bat can run along the ground at speeds close to five miles per hour, or hop like a frog, despite having powerful wings equipped for flight. They live in dark places and hunt exclusively at night, where they attack sleeping mammals from the ground, sucking their blood. And yes, humans are mammals!

One of the unique weapons of this tiny hunter is its saliva, which is rich in anticoagulants, preventing the blood vessels from healing and enabling prolonged bleeding. While most do not, some bats do carry rabies, so they should never be handled by humans.

Finally, is there any truth to the vampire legends of movies and TV? Perhaps. Their most common feeding method is to sink their sharp fangs into their victims’ necks and suck out as much blood as possible – at night, of course.

Comments

  1. Eeeeewah! How gross. I'm clammy just thinking about this because I hear noises from our attic late at night while sitting at my computer. I had no idea those bats could run that fast. Well, just because I can live without them doesn't mean they deserve to be annihilated. Do they have a purpose in the great chain of life? Like eating blood sucking mosquitos? Are they hunted by a larger species? I suppose I should look this up myself. They give me the willies regardless.~Ames

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ames: If I answered all those questions, you would not get the willies, and then you would stop following my blog. However, every living thing does serve a purpose.

    Suze: Better than CrEep, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I definitely have to second Ames' very appropriate comment of Eeeeewah! regarding bats. While I'm genuinely grateful for the pest eating benefits that these creepy little flying rats provide, I prefer not to have them taking up residence in my attic or heaven forbid, any closer. My neighbor's garage is quite close enough, thank you very kindly.

    My folks set me straight early on about the differences between the (thankfully) more southerly located vampire variety and our more benign local fruit bats, yet I still have a knee-jerk tendency to cringe when they fly over my deck hunting mosquitos on a warm summer night. I must also admit that it's no accident that we have full screens on all of our windows. Especially the bedroom windows...

    Thanks so much for stopping by and following. I'm here happily following back! Looking forward to getting to know you better!

    ~Mrs B

    ReplyDelete
  4. Mrs.B: Thank you. I, too, am very happy the vampire bats stay south of us. I am not enamored with our little flying friends either, but they do have a helpful place in the scheme of things in Nature.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Your use of language in the portrayal of theses amazing creatures is interesting. You have focused on the on the fear aspect They attack their targets at night, razor sharp teeth, bite the neck and drink the blood.

    Ok would I want to be bitten by one, not really mainly due to the Rabies but apart from that the wound I would incur from these creatures would not be that big as they make a surface wound and drink the capillary blood, they lap it up no jugular piercing going on here. I still wouldn't appreciate it though just as I wouldn't appreciate a leech hanging off my arm.

    The bats can pose a problem for live stock as continued targeted animals can develop infections at the repeated bite sites, why make a new hole when you can open an old one.

    Also you have omitted the most amazing parts of these bats lives which has been witnessed and videoed, I saw this on a David Attenborough documentary. It is their altruism towards their colony members if a bat has not managed to get a meal it will beg its roost mates and they will regurgitate some blood for it to maintain it till the next night. Also according to the wikipedia article they will adopt anothers young should the parents fail to return.

    They are amazing and as long as it is not snacking on me (highly unlikely as I live in the UK) They can go about their flitting blood lapping lives.

    Are they a benefit as that what humans see every thing as something that needs a purpose to exist, well as with leeches scientists are looking into the anticoagulants in their saliva for treatments for stroke victims etc.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Chibi Janine: The post was intended to introduce a few fun facts about an interesting creature. I really did not have a fear agenda. Nevertheless, the little rodent is the source of the Dracula tales.

    I don't like to rely too much on Wikipedia, as much of the material from that source is unverified. However, there is a fascinating National Geographic site at http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/common-vampire-bat/ that reveals a lot more than I could include in this forum.

    I just finished a book by Bill Shutt entitled, Dark Banquet: Blood and the Curious Lives of Blood-Feeding Creatures. Three Rivers Press, 2011. Dr. Shutt is an expert on vampire bats and reveals some amazing details about this particular animal that enjoys his own biological species.

    In any event, as I mentioned to Mrs. B above, I believe all living things have a relevant place in Nature.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Bats don't really have a lot of predators. Snakes will eat bats when they are hanging asleep in trees. Raccoons will occasionally eat them. Raptors will sometimes snatch them out of the sky.

    A bat cave is a pretty nasty place. The guano (poop) is pretty foul-smelling, and is loaded with dangerous bacteria.

    We have a bat house on the side of our house to keep the insect population down, and I once found a bat hanging upside down in one of my ceramic masks that I had hanging on my patio. It has been so very dry here that the bats have probably left the bat house for greener pastures.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Judie: I would imagine they are not appetizing, even to predators.

    ReplyDelete
  9. We have a colony of bats living just down the road from where we live. They are not the same species of bat though, ours are fruit bats/flying foxes. They are bigger and a little less scary looking. They're not too bothersome, except for when you're trying to grow fruit or when they regurgitate all over the house & car after they've had a big feed. I do believe though that if they're here on earth, they have a right to exist. Here is a link to have a look at our Aussie Bats. http://www.bellingen.com/flyingfoxes/bats_or_flying_foxes.htm

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kath: Thanks for the link. Bats have an absolute right to live, and they play a vital role in the balance of Nature.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Post something about mosquitoes, JJ, and I will be shaking in fear.
    Too many of those sucking my blood day and night, leaving huge welts behind them.

    Bats? Close the windows and doors, make sure they have screens if left open. I prefer bats to mosquitoes!

    ReplyDelete
  12. A-M: Actually, bats prefer mosquitoes to you. Bats are good little critters. I'm with you on the other biting pests. They seem to have little purpose in the scheme of things in life.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ooooh, how creepy is this?!
    Unfortunately, I couldn't help but think of people I know who behave a lot like this- sucking the lifeblood out of everyone they get near, not literally but figuratively.
    I think I'll take the bats instead. Their effect is only temporary!

    ReplyDelete
  14. 'Yellow Rose' Jasmine: Bats definitely have it over many people!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Other Works by JJ Botta

My books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and numerous Bookstores. Amazon.com AND Barnes and Noble

Mystery

Mystery

Coming Soon!

Coming Soon!