ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Natures Real Vampires

Updated on December 28, 2013

Dracula's Got Nothing Compared To These Real Bloodsuckers

Real blood sucking vampires, that classic iconic symbol of Halloween, live among us. No they are not suave, charismatic villains or supernatural ghoulish entities, they are real life animals found, perhaps in your very own backyard.

Certain animals, known as hermatotrophs, feed on blood. Blood is a nutrient rich fluid and can be taken with minimal effort on the part of the blood sucking vampire - like animal. Most of these animals are small, worms and various species of arthropods, but some, like the vampire bat are mammals.

This Halloween learn about the real vampires among us.

For more about this photo and the vampire squid, click here

The Vampire Bat

Three species of bat - the Common Vampire Bat, the Hairy-legged Vampire Bat and the White Winged Vampire Bat are the only species of bats that feed solely on blood. All three can be found in the Americas.

All three species vary in physical appearance but share a few common characteristics. They generally have a short tail membrane, very small ears, a specialized teeth adapted for cutting and a digestive system adapted for their liquid diet. Vampire bats saliva also contains a special substance called draculin which prevents its prey's blood from clotting, therefore enabling the blood to continue to flow as they lap it up while feeding. Inside the vampire bats brain, they have a well developed sound processing center which can detect the regular breathing sounds of the sleeping animals they use as food sources.

Since a vampire bat can only survive two days without a meal of blood and they cannot necessarily find food every day, they often share food with each other. One bat may regurgitate a small amount of blood to help sustain another member of the colony. This is an example of reciprocal altruism in nature. Vampire share close family bonds and will even adopt the young of other individuals who have lost a parent.

The super cool photo you see here as well as lots of interesting information about the vampire bat can be found at The Ever So Strange Animal Almanac

This Halloween, Bring The Vampire Bat Home For The Kids

The Really Fearsome Blood-loving Vampire Bat and Other Creatures with Strange Eating Habits (The Really Horrible Guides)
The Really Fearsome Blood-loving Vampire Bat and Other Creatures with Strange Eating Habits (The Really Horrible Guides)

Using a horror style approach to teach about nature, this wonderful book is an excellent resource for children in grades 2-4. It provides an introduction to small beasts such as the vampire bat that humans either fear or find disgusting

 

Blood Sucking Leeches

The blood sucking Haemophagic leech is a parasite. Like all parasitic relationships, the host is harmed as the parasite (leech) benefits from the relationship. Classified as an annelid or segmented worm, the leech is related to the common earthworm and can be found in many of the same ecosystems that earthworm resides in. Shallow ponds, lakes and marshes are its preferred habitat as it is aquatic although some leeches are amphibious and some are land dwelling.

Like the vampire bat, the blood feeding leech releases an anesthetic to prevent the host from feeling the leech as it feeds. It attaches to the host with a sucker formed from the first six segments of its body and then uses a combination of mucus and suction to stay attached while it secretes an anti-clotting enzyme, called hirudin into the host's blood stream.

An interesting fact about leeches is that they are hermaphrodites, and each one of them has both female and male reproductive organs. Reproduction occurs through reciprocal fertilization. Also interesting to note is that leeches have been used in medicine dating as far back as 2,500 years ago and are still used today.

Image and interesting article about the leech can be found here

type=text
type=text

Blood Sucking Insects

Of course the mosquito comes to mind when one thinks about blood sucking insects. Male mosquitoes feed on nectar and plant juices while the female mosquito feeds on blood. She needs this nutrient rich blood in order to produce eggs. There are about 3,500 species of mosquitoes found throughout the world and in some places mosquitoes that feed on humans can be vectors for disease transmission. The female mosquito will detect its intended victim by detecting carbon dioxide CO2 from a distance.

Bed bugs are another insect that feed mainly on blood, mostly the blood of humans. Like other 'vampire' animals, they secrete a substance into the wound to prevent coagulation. They also feed at night when their victims lie sleeping. During the day, bed bugs hide in cracks and crevices, wall outlets, behind baseboards, wallpaper and pictures, between bed joints and slats, along the seams of mattresses and in bed linens. Because of this and their small size, they are hard to locate and hard to eradicate. Thankfully, they do not transmit any human pathogen, they just red, swollen and itchy skin.

Members of the arachnid family, ticks are another tiny blood sucking insect that plaques humans and other animal populations. To feed, A tick will insert its cutting mandibles into a host and then insert its feeding tube into the skin. The feeding tube is covered with recurved teeth and will anchor the tick in place. Ticks will seek a host by heat emitted or carbon dioxide respired.

Costumes, Decorations And More - Celebrate natures real vampires this Halloween

Thanks For Visiting - I would love to hear from you

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • andreaberrios lm profile image

      andreaberrios lm 6 years ago

      Very nice lens! Happy Halloween.

    • profile image

      baymaac 6 years ago

      very interesting. nicely written :)

    • profile image

      MintySea 6 years ago

      thanks for this information packed halloween lens

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com 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: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    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 googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    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)
    Marketing
    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.
    Statistics
    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)