Thursday, October 31, 2013

White-winged Vampire Bat

Happy Halloween everyone! I figured that, in the spirit of the holiday, we would learn about one of the iconic animals associated with it-- the Vampire Bat!

Now, there are actually three different species of Vampire Bat, all of which below to their own genus, but the same subfamily, Desmodontinae. The White-winged Vampire Bat is one of the three, which can be found in both the wet and dry forests of South and Central America.

White-winged Vampire Bats have not been studied very closely, so the exact extent of their range is still a bit of  a mystery. We also know very little about their reproductive habits, but since their two cousins are polygynous and give birth to just one offspring at a time, they probably do too.

We do know about their eating habits-- like all Vampire Bats, this species feeds nocturnally on the blood of other animals. Their favorite prey are birds, interestingly enough. They sneak up on roosting birds and bite into their feet with their razor-sharp teeth. Their saliva contains an anti-coagulant, so the blood flows quickly. Amazingly, the sleeping birds may not even notice the feeding happening, since the bats will drink for up to 15 minutes!

IUCN Status : Least Concern
Location : Central and South America
Size : Body length around 8.5cm
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Chiroptera
Family : Phyllostomidae -- Genus : Diaemus -- Species : D. youngi
Image : Jude Hirstwood

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