There are 3 species of vampire bats, namely the common vampire bat, the hairy legged vampire bat and the white winged vampire bat. And, all these 3 species are found in South America, in countries like Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Chile.
Vampire bats have a characteristic short muzzle that is conical in shape. The snout is equipped with infrared sensors that allow the bat to locate where the blood is flowing close to the skin. The front teeth of the vampire bat are formed to cut into skin. The digestive system of the bat has evolved to digest its liquid diet. The bat's saliva has an anticoagulant called draculin. The vampire bat has small ears and a tail that is short and membrane-like. (See Reference 1)
These bats are nocturnal and feed on the blood of birds, pigs, horses, and cows. At times, vampire bats are known to feed on human blood. These bats weigh around 40 grams and can drink more than one ounce of blood in a twenty-minute feed. A vampire bat does not suck blood. Rather, it makes a small incision with the help of its front teeth, and then uses its tongue to lap the blood up. As the bat is so small and light, animals do not feel the bat drinking their blood. Also, this drinking does not cause any pain to the animals. (See Reference 1)
The bats have the ability to run, walk and jump. They have very strong back legs and with the help of a specialized thumb, the bats take off after having their fill of blood. It is important to note that if a vampire bat does not feed for 2 consecutive nights, it dies. A female bat is known to regurgitate the blood it consumes, so that it can share the blood with other bats. However, this is not done for free. To get the regurgitated blood, the other bats have to groom the female. (See Reference 1)
Just like other species of bats, even vampire bats are carriers of rabies. They can spread this disease to cows and other livestock and cause a lot of damage to livestock farmers. These bats generally live in colonies in places that are completely dark, like hollows of trees, caves, abandoned wells, and buildings. A single colony of bats can have thousands of bats. (See Reference 1)Vampire bats are quite friendly and tame. One particular researcher claimed that the vampire bats he had used to respond to the names that he had given them. They used to come to him when he called out to them. (See Reference 1)
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