The bloody diet of the vampire bat

vampire bat


Biodiversity includes hematophagous, in other words, animals that feed on blood. Ugh! The most famous of them is the vampire bat. Is it dangerous for humans?

The vampire bat and its unique diet

image carrée bat illu

The vampire bat is a small mammal living in Central and South America. There are three species: the common vampire (Desmodus Rotundus), the hairy-legged vampire (Diphylla Ecaudata), and the white-winged vampire (Diaemus Youngi). Their diet consists mainly of blood and, more rarely, of insects. They are said to be obligatory hematophagous.


Said of animals that feed on blood

separation line red bats

The saber-toothed tiger

Are his teeth made of ivory?


The Desmodus bat settles in agricultural areas, where their larder is located. During the day, they hide in caves or the hollows of trees. At night, they come out to feed. Cattle, consisting of cows, pigs, chickens, or even cats, are an easy source of blood. While the others live in the forests.

image carrée bat illu

What does the vampire bat look like?

Vampire bat
a vampire bat desmodus rotundus

Desmodus bats have orange-brown fur. These bats are small, with an average height of 8 cm and an average weight of 58 g. They can double their weight in one meal, depending on the amount of blood ingested. They rarely attack humans.

image carrée bat illu

How does the vampire bat hunt?

This nocturnal animal hunts discreetly, first orienting itself with its sonar. It detects its prey with its heat sensors. The common vampire has large thumbs at the end of its pointed wings, which allows it to take off from the ground with a great leap. These same thumbs, or claws, allow them to cling to sleeping cattle. As soon as it spots them, it lands and crawls closer. It makes a small incision from which blood flows out and then licks. Their saliva contains draculin, a powerful anticoagulant that allows them to collect blood from the wound.

They live in groups and have a very organized and evolved social life. They even share the blood collected to feed their fellow creatures who would not have received their ration.

These tiny flying monsters are sometimes considered as pests because they can transmit rabies to livestock.

vampire bat licking blood

Did you know?

Draculin is a molecule that allows the blood of prey to flow.

Why feed on blood?

image carrée bat illu

Blood is a liquid composed mostly of water and rich in nutrients, proteins, and lipids. For blood drinkers, it’s a quick and easy way to eat. How about eating blood sausage?

Experiment engraving as Félicien ROPS

barre séparation chauve-souris

An experiment proposed by Curiokids