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American Vampire Facts

The Jamaican fruit-eating bat can be identified by the leaf-shaped skin flap at the end of its nose.

The Jamaican fruit-eating bat can be identified by the leaf-shaped skin flap at the end of its nose. (View larger version)

Photograph by Grizzly Creek Films, LLC/Rick Smith

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  • Nearly one quarter of the species of mammals in the world are bats.

  • The world's smallest mammal is a species of bat, Kitti's Hog-nosed Bat (Craseonycteris thonglongyai). The tiny insectivore is sometimes called the bumblebee bat.

  • Bats' appetites are diverse. Diets can include fruit, nectar, insects, and even frogs, fish and mice.

  • Some insectivorous bats can eat as much as their own body weight in insects every night. That's like a human eating approximately 80 large pizzas.

  • Tiger moths generate clicks that interfere with a bat's ability to echolocate, confusing their predator.

  • Not all bats live in caves. They can make their homes in hollow trees, crevices in rocks, in human structures, or even in tents that they fashion in leaves and foliage.

  • Vampire bats have inspired research into new blood thinners. The enzyme secreted by the bat to keep its victim's blood from clotting has been mimicked in anticoagulants designed to treat strokes.

  • In captivity, a vampire bat can live for up to 30 years.

  • Vampire bats usually give birth to only one pup. Like all bats, they nurse their young.

  • Vampire bats consume just one or two tablespoons of blood a day. But this small meal is essential. Without the nourishment, they'll starve in two or three days.

  • Once a vampire bat attacks a victim, it often revisits that same target night after night.

  • The vampire bat's ability to take flight directly from the ground is uncommon in other bat species, many of which can only take off from a hanging position.

  • Vampires do not suck blood. They lap it from a wound they create by making a small incision with sharp front teeth.


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