ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Truth About Vampire Bats

Updated on August 24, 2015

Vampire bats are very adaptable

Similar to the ant, the vampire bat is among one of the more adaptable species, and so when their environment changes around them, they're able to survive, and in many cases thrive, which can be detrimental to the people and animals living around them.

The vampire bat stands alone as the only species in it genus, and while it's not right to think of them as these huge, monstrous creatures flying about sucking your blood; they're bad enough even as a small creature.

Vampire bats only measure about 3 inches long, but their teeth are so sharp, that once they attach themselves to their victim, usually the victim has no idea they're being fed upon. Sometimes when the vampire bats are young, they're not as good at it and become victims themselves.

But once older and experienced, they rarely become food for their targets.

Another unusal characteristic of the vampire bat is its tremendous agility. Not only can they run in a similar fashion as a spider can, but they can literally do cartwheel-like actions and also jump in the same way a frog does.

Razor-sharp teeth of vampire bat

Vampire bats can only consume blood

No other food source is able to be utilized by vampire bats than blood. Studies have shown they have extremely quick metabolisms which would cause the bat to starve within two days if they didn't feed on blood.

There are two major reasons for this. One, they have this tiny little throat, and so no solid food would be able to be swallowed or digested. The second is the unusual shape of their stomach, which is formed in a zig zag type of shape, which is ideal for the consumption of blood, which it's made to hold in their needed capacity.

What is incredible the vampire bat in this area is the extraordinary kidneys it has which enable it to drink the blood to its fullest use, getting the most nourishment out of it. This is important because of the water that exists in the blood of its victims.

Vampire bat video

What everyone wants to know - do vampire bats drink human blood?

No talk about vampire bats could be initiated without dealing with the question of vampire bats eat the blood of humans. The answer is: yes they do.

This is a secret that likes to be kept secret because of the possible repercussions, but just recently over 80 deaths were attributed to vampire bats, where they spread rabies and killed their victims, which in this case were children.

As I mentioned, they're extremely adaptable, and so will eat whatever food source is available to them. 

Baby vampire bats

What animals do they feed on?

Assuming their habitat is relatively normal, a vampire bat will feed on larger animals like cattle, donkeys, horses, pigs and tapir, which some think was probably its normal food source. They will also feed on birds, especially chickens, which are easy to attack when roosting.

Vampire bat about to feed

How much blood do vampire bats actually consume at a feeding?

Looking at the huge fangs of the bat, the impression is that he's a blood guzzler, but in reality they eat about a tablespoon of blood a day.

For that reason, they usually aren't a threat to large animals from losing of blood standpoint. But in the case of smaller animals, it's a real possibility because at times vampire bats will eat from the same spot of a victim in order not to disturb or wake them.

So if an animal or bird is small, and that's what happens, they could die from loss of blood. But a large animals obviously isn't in danger from that part of the behavior of a vampire bat.

What other ways can vampire bats do harm?

The primary harm to animals or humans by vampire bats is if they drink from a diseased animal and then spread the disease among themselves or to the victim of their next feeding.

Some of these diseases commonly spread are rabies, Chaga's disease and murrina, which is common among cattle.

What use are they?

All bats have some use, and with the vampire bat it's not different, but about the same as others. The only unfortunate exception is they don't eat mosquitoes, like a lot of bats do, so they don't have that going for them.

What is similar to other bats is the bat feces, or otherwise known as bat guano, is a prime disperser of seeds in the southern tropical region they live in, so help propogate the rain forests. Evidently they also help to pollinate as well.

Bat quano is alos used as an organic fertilizer by a large number of people. I'm not sure if vampire bats are used for that purpose or not, or if their droppings are different because of their food supply.

How people eradicate them

Because vampire bats can become a serious problem when diseases start to emerge, killing large numbers of animals, and in some instances human beings, they are constantly being sought out and killed.

The one thing that makes vampire bats easy to kill is their habit of grooming themselves. Think of a cat that cleans its fur all the time, and you get the general idea.

What happens is a type of poison is given to the bats, which when they start their grooming of themselves and one another, is passed on and large numbers are killed as a result.

Some people have also been known to follow the bats to where they live and dynamite them.

Is the vampire bat threat to humans real?

Definitely, although not as common as it may seem, because when an outbreak of attacks upon humans results in a number of deaths - usually from rabies - it is an international story which gets a lot of print and other media coverage.

Usually these attacks come when other food sources are removed, for example, cattle which were being fed on being brought to market. Bats don't differentiate, and will eat whatever blood source is available to them.

It's not an epidemic threat, as far as globally, but when you're living in a locality where humans are their source of food, a lot of people can die quickly, as a number of stories have confirmed.


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)