Common Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus)

Common Vampire Bats are the only mammals in the world known to feed exclusively on the blood of their
prey. Normally, that prey includes sleeping warm-blooded creatures such as pigs, cattle, chickens or even humans but recently, some Vampire Bats have been recorded drinking the blood of toads, snakes and crocodiles -- now that's one dangerous meal! Contrary to popular belief, these animals do not suck blood but make a small incision with their razor-sharp teeth and lap up the flowing blood. They have a chemical in their saliva which is 20 times more powerful than the most effective anti-clotting medicines! Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo is very happy to welcome our newest arrivals: Common Vampire Bats. Our colony is located in our Rainforest in their very own private, cozy, cave exhibit (complete with stalactites and stalagmites)! Please stop by and say "Hello" to these fascinating creatures of the night.

Description: 

Common Vampire Bats are small, furry grayish-brown bats with lighter brownish bellies. They range from just 2.75 to 3.5 inches in length, have a wingspan of up to 15.75 inches and weigh just 1.2 ounces. They have large eyes, a rounded nose, pointy ears and very sharp teeth.

Habitat: 

Warm climates from deserts to rainforests.

Range: 

Mexico through Central America to South America to Argentina and Chile.

Diet: 

Fresh blood of large, warm-bodied animals. Sometimes fresh blood from other creatures.

Life Span: 

On average, 9 years in the wild. Up to 20 years in zoos.

Family Life: 

These bats typically live in colonies of between 20 to 100 animals but may range up to 5,000. Vampire Bats give birth to one or two young after a 7-month gestation. Young can be born any time of year. At first, mothers feed their young milk but will begin feeding them regurgitated blood at two months of age. By four months, they young join mom on her nightly hunts. At five months of age, they are full grown.

Status: 

Although Vampire Bats are still common in most areas of their range, their populations must be closely monitored because they are threatened by unrestricted hunting.