- Common Name
- Common Vampire Bat
Pronunciation: des-moh-dus roh-tun-dus
Conservation Status: Least Concern
Diet: Sanguivore (Blood)
Fun Fact: Unlike most bats, common vampire bats are actually quite agile on the ground. Using a bounding-type movement, they can run up to 2.5 miles an hour!
The Common Vampire Bats restricted to warm climates, living in the tropical and subtropical areas ranging from southern Mexico to northern parts of Argentina and Chile. Living in colonies ranging from tens to thousands of individuals, Common Vampire Bats roost in tree hollows, moderately lit caves as well as human-made structures such as old wells, mine shafts, and abandoned buildings.
One of only three species of vampire bats, Common Vampire Bats feed primarily on mammal blood, ranging from large wild mammals such as tapirs as well as common livestock such as cows, horses, and pigs. Common Vampire Bats have unique characteristics due to their specialized feeding habits. Their front teeth (incisors) are sharp and pointed, and are used to make small cuts in their prey. They don’t actually suck the blood from their prey, but instead lap the blood from the wound while special proteins in their saliva prevent the wound from clotting. These vampire ‘venoms’ are being explored as potential treatments for strokes and heart attacks.
Common Vampire Bats are highly social and have sophisticated social organization and behaviors. Female vampire bats form close associations with other females, observed through activities such as social grooming and food-sharing. Rate and amount of food-sharing between individuals depends on a variety of factors, including kinship, association, and reciprocal help.
Carter, G., & Wilkinson, G. (2013). Does food sharing in vampire bats demonstrate reciprocity? Communicative & Integrative Biology, 6(6), e25783.
Greenhall, A. M., Joermann, G., & Schmidt, U. (1983). Desmodus rotundus. Mammalian Species, (202), 1-6.
Riskin, D. K., & Hermanson, J. W. (2005). Independent evolution of running in vampire bats. Nature, 434(7031), 292-292.