Vampire bats have been a controversial character ever since the mythology of vampires became a part of cultures around the world.
So it’s no surprise to see so much concern and fears when the fierce little creature is mentioned, or news of the attacks on pets, livestock and in a number cases, even humans.
Contrary to popular opinion, vampire bats don’t sink their teeth in a victim and keep sucking through them to swallow their meal. Rather the make an initial entry under the skin, and when the blood comes out, they continue to lick it off.
Can vampire bats kill animals or humans through loss of blood? No. They in reality drink very little blood individually, although sometimes a group of bats will drink from the same hole and drain a lot more blood than the original individual feeder.
There are some cases when they feed on smaller animals or birds when they could kill them from loss of blood, because of the much smaller quantity in the animal or bird they’re feeding on.
But most the time, vampire bats are dangerous because of the disease they could carry from feeding on the blood of animals with diseases.
This is how quite large number of livestock, in some cases, humans, are killed by the bats. Among the major diseases carried at times by vampire bats are rabies, Chaga’s disease and murrina, with the latter being common among cattle.
Some of the problems connected to vampire bat attacks on humans are thought to be related to the removal of some natural habitat, or when they’re feeding on livestock like cattle and their food source is taken to market.
People trying to maintain some management over these bats attempt to keep them as a sort of pet, in order to perpetuate the species, which is the only one of its genus.
Vampire bats reside primarily in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.