The Creature Gallery

Transylvanian Vampire Bat - Circa 1944


Transylvanian Vampire Bat - Circa 1944

Transylvanian Vampire bats feed on the blood (haematophagy) of horses, donkeys, pigs, goats, and other animals including humans.

Transylvanian Vampire bats hunt only when it is fully dark. Once the bat locates a host, usually a sleeping mammal, they land and approach it on the ground and make a 7mm long and 8mm deep cut. They are very agile and can, in addition to walk, run at speeds of up to 7.9 km per hour (4.9 miles per hour). The saliva of vampire bats contains a substance, draculin, which prevents the victim's blood from clotting. They, therefore, lap blood rather than suck it as most people imagine. Vampire bats are common carriers of the deadly rabies virus which, aside from its danger to humans, is responsible for the deaths of thousands of farm animals each year.

Vampire bats tend to live in colonies in almost completely dark places, such as caves, old wells, hollow trees, and buildings. Colonies can range from a single individual to thousands. They often roost with other species of bat. They require blood at least once every 3 to 4 days to survive. If they can't get blood, they'll approach another vampire bat whilst roosting, seeking a blood 'transfusion'. The blood is exchanged mouth-to-mouth in a motion that looks very much like kissing. Vampire bats can live up to nine years in the wild and up to 19 in captivity.


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