Sucking human blood? – the vampire bat Halloween symbol

The Vampire bat drinks blood. They are part of the bat family Desmodontidae, found in the New World tropics. Vampire bats feed exclusively on the blood of living animals and are thus the only true parasite among mammals.

Quietly at night the bat walks up its victim’s body to find an exposed area, cuts through the skin with its razor-sharp incisors teeth  usually without waking the victim. Then the vampire bat can casually lap up the blood with its tongue. The saliva from the bat keeps the wound from closing and allows the bat to dine on the oozing blood for several hours.

If the victim is a small animal the chemicals in the saliva of the vampire bat can paralyse some mammals. Although the quantity of blood they take is insufficent to harm a large animal, they are dangerous to livestock and humans because they transmit serious diseases such as rabies and Chagas’s disease.

Vampire bats live in caves, tree hollows, and houses. VAMPIRE BAT. The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2008
Legends about vampire bats come from  Central and South America.  Some stories have them changing shapes from man to bat.  “While these legends may sound strange, there is recorded evidence of human hosts.  Glover Allen (1939) talks about bats feeding on humans, ‘while travelling down the Amazon valley, he (Dr. William Farabee) awoke one morning to find that a vampire during the night had gouged a small piece of skin from the tip of his nose and had evidently feasted while he slept, for the wound was still bleeding slightly’ .  A better story related to  bloodletting goes like this, the Mexican monk who came down with a violent fever and was given a death sentence by morning.  But, the next day, the monk was on his way to recovery.  “It seems that his feet had been left uncovered and that during the night, a vampire bat had entered the room, which, having bitten his toe and lapped his blood, had so reduced the fever that the sick man recovered” (Allen 1939). ‘

Find more facts and information related to the .
The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. Copyright 2008 Columbia University Press


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