Dracula has arrived, well not quite but this week’s report it going to be about the Common vampire bat. As it is known from the famous film Dracula drinks blood. This is true and bats are the only mammals that can fly but what is even more fascinating about vampire bats is the fact they are the only mammals that can feed entirely on blood.
Roughly the size of a common vampire bat is it is only 9cm tall. With an overall wing span of double that measuring 35-45cm. They don’t carry a lot of weight around roughly about 57 grams, on the wings they will possess a finger like a claw that sticks out from the end of the wing. This is an adaptation which allows the bat to climb up trees or cave walls. As with other bats, the common vampire bat will use echolocation to determine their surroundings. This is works very like a dolphin who use sonar, however, there is a difference in the methods. Echolocation is where the bat will send out certain sounds they will then listen to the echoes that come back to determine the surrounds. Whereas dolphins will use sonar to send out signals to determine where objects are located. Located in Mexico and South America they will live in colonies from 20 – 100 bats. Other colonies can reach much larger numbers, they will congregate in caves, old mines, abandoned buildings and old wells.
As mentioned before they are the only mammals in the world that have a diet of blood. They will use their front sharp teeth to break animal skin and humans skin. The bat will then lap up the blood from the cut, the bat’s saliva will stop the blood from clotting up and numb the wound at the same time. They are so effective with sucking the blood they can consume 25ml of blood within half an hour. Common Vampire bats will primary hunt at night as legends tell us, feeding on a range of food from cows, sheep, dogs and pigs. The bats are very clever though if they find an animal and successfully get blood from it, the bat will return the same night to again remove the scab and feed again. They hunt solitary usually flying about a meter above their victim, after that landing next to the chosen prey item giving them a bite and lapping up the blood.
When the sun starts to rise, the bats will return to their caverns, despite them looking quite menacing and unfriendly they are social creatures and if a mother gives birth and doesn’t return then other mothers will step in place and raise the young themselves. Males will fly around with around 6 females each and offspring. Common Vampire bats can breed all year round; however, they have a rather long gestation period compared to other tropical bats. The female will have a gestation period of around 3-4 months, she will care for the baby until it is around 3-5 months of age. Until they are old enough to go out hunting themselves the babies will feed on the mother’s milk.
An interesting fact you didn’t know before reading this!!!
The Common Vampire bat is about the size of a teacup.