Monday, October 31, 2011

Common Vampire Bat

Desmodus rotundus
Happy Halloween! Could there be any better day to talk about the Vampire Bat?

Bats are the only mammals able to truly fly, and Vampire Bats are the only mammals who feed entirely on the blood of other animals. They feed only at night, using heat sensors to find the best spot to feed from (Horses and Cows are common prey). Because they only consume blood, their teeth are used only to pierce skin, and they are actually so thin and sharp that the prey doesn't always know they've been bitten!

After making the bite, the Vampire Bat will lick up the blood for around 30 minutes. They don't take enough blood to cause harm to the prey, though infections can occur.

Vampire Bats are very social, and live in colonies of up to 150 members. They are remarkably altruistic; if one Bat hasn't gotten enough to eat, other Bats will regurgitate blood for them to feed on. Gross, but incredibly nice, as a Bat can die if it doesn't feed for three days! The regurgitation technique is also used for young pups who are weaning off of milk but are not yet able to hunt on their own.

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Central and South America
Size : Body Length 3.5in (9cm), Wingspan 7in (18cm)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Chiroptera
Family : Phyllostomidae -- Genus : Desmodus -- Species : D. rotundus

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