Vampire Bat

Vampire Bat

A Chapter by Norma M Sutton

Team Renfield

Dread this little fellow when you go to bed
He drinks the blood of the undead
Livestock weak and sick from loss
You might be his next stead

He doesn't fly unseen like the creature in movies
So when in bed you crawl shake out your sheets
Make sure he's not hiding down at your feet
Check the netting above your bed

And you think mosquitos are bad
Little round itchy welts they leave
Nothing compared to this fellows kiss
Anemic and weak you waken from sleep

No fiction he's not
But sometimes fact is far worse
He raises his ugly little head
Fangs dripping in blood

A fruit bat he is not
And the farmers baine
He steals the blood of their livelihood
Leaving their children hungry and wane

And now for the facts . . .
curtisy of

The common vampire bat possesses a unique feeding style. The common vampire bat feeds solely on blood, usually the blood of mammals (Delpietro & Russo 2002; Park 1991; Lord 1993, Nowak 1991). As most bats it is a nocturnal hunter (Nowak 1991; Lord 1993). Common vampires emerge from their cave in an ordered fashion with the bachelor males leaving first harem, then the females, and lastly the harem male (Lord 1993, Park 1991). They fly to nearby pastures in search of their favorite prey-cattle, livestock, and horses (Lord 1993). The common vampire bat uses its sense of smell and hearing to find prey (Wilkinson 2001). The distance flown when foraging by females and males does not differ significantly (Wilkinson 1985a). They forage in an area five to eight kilometers from their roost (Nowak 1991). Once a victim has been targeted the bat must either land on it or walk and jump on it (Lord 1993; Nowak 1991). Common vampire bats have padded feet and wrists so that the animal does not feel the bat land (Altringham 1998). The bat then uses heat sensors in its nose to find a blood vessel near the surface (Wilkinson 1990). The most common bite sites are on the rump, flanks, and necks of animals (Lord 1993). Next, it uses its sharp teeth to pull a flap of skin off of the animal (Nowak 1991). The tongue of the vampire bat has capillary like grooves underneath and on the sides of it so that the blood can be taken up quickly (Nowak 1991). To keep the blood flowing the bat uses an anticoagulant to prevent the blood from clotting (Nowak 1991). The bat will feed for about thirty minutes, which leaves the bat swollen with blood (Lord 1993).

Common vampire bats eat their weight in blood each night, and females eat twice as much (Lord 1993). On average they eat about twenty milliliters of blood per night (Nowak 1991). The bat can barely move, so it must hide and wait until it processes the blood enough so that it can fly (Altringham 1998). Common vampires have highly efficient kidneys that beginning extracting water from the blood as soon as the bat starts eating (Lord 1993). This allows the bat to eat more blood without becoming full on water (Altringham 1998). The kidneys work to filter the water out so that the bat can fly back to the roost (Lord 1993). On a given night eight percent of the bats in a colony will unsuccessful in acquiring food (Wilkinson 1990).

Common vampire bats are protective of their victim. A vampire bat will fend off any other bats that try to land on and bite its victim while it is still feeding (Wilkinson 1985a; Wilkinson 2001). Two bats rarely use a bite site simultaneously (Lord 1993). In most cases where two bats feed from the same bite simultaneously, the two bats are mother and her offspring (Wilkinson 1985a, Wilkinson 2001). Also, vampire bats appear to prefer certain animals as victims (Lord 1993). For instance in a group of horses they will bite one specific horse once and then keep returning on consecutive nights and bite that horse again. Even when that horse is moved away from the group the bats still find it and bite it. It is thought that the urine excreted when the bat is feeding gets on the horse and marks it, so that when the same bat returns it can find the horse using the scent of the urine. It appears to be advantageous for the bats to bite the same horse, since they know from the previous night that they can successfully secure a meal from that specific horse (Lord 1993).

© 2011 Norma M Sutton

Author's Note

Norma M Sutton
It occurs to me that for a group named after a freaking Dracula character we are yet to have a vampire prompt. Oh dear, that won't do. So go a write me some vampire fiction. Note that "Vampire" can cover many things, and at one point in the novel Frankenstein Victor refers to the creation as his "vampire." Think about that. You may also find this page useful for cliche avoidance. Furthermore, if you want to fill the average bathtub with blood, be prepared to kill 14 people. Plus snacks.

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Nature had many interesting creatures. The Vampire bat is one of them. They are well known for their thirst can be felt by farmers. A very entertaining story. I leave the bats alone in Michigan. They can eat a lot of bugs. A excellent poem. Thank you.

Posted 10 Years Ago

Cool! This is really interesting facts. I also loved the poem. The facts grossed me out a little. I have this thing with blood. Anyway awesome job!

Posted 10 Years Ago

Woah, that's a lot of research. I commend you on sharing it. Great poem too. Renfieldians unite!

Posted 10 Years Ago

Yes, I saw a full documentary about that, but they didn't show whether the bat's image appears in the mirror or not.

Posted 10 Years Ago

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. hahahaha! ... "be prepared to kill 14 people" ? ... your sense of humour is crazily awesome ... and this poem is beautifully written and your research is impeccable and astonishing ...

Posted 10 Years Ago

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5 Reviews
Added on November 25, 2010
Last Updated on March 6, 2011


Norma M Sutton
Norma M Sutton

Bostic, NC

Norma Moore Sutton has written and published two children's books: The First Lamb and Harry Goes To The Fair She has written and published the first book in the Haunting Memories Series: Matthe.. more..


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